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January/February 2016

Teacher Recruitment and Retention a Concern for Georgia School Districts

PAGE Membership Tops 90,000 | 2016 Legislative Agenda | Path to School Transformation


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Contents January/February 2016

Vol. 37 No. 3

7

Feature

07 Teacher Recruitment and Retention a Concern for Georgia School Districts •  In Search of Future Georgia Educators • FGE Students Identify What Draws Them to Teaching • Survey Shines Light on Dissatisfaction With School Funding and Teacher Evaluations

Columns

Departments

4  From the President Frustrated Veteran Teachers Are Leaving the Profession

News and Information 6 America’s 2nd Largest Independent Education Association: PAGE Membership Tops 90,000

5  From the Executive Director Reasons to Stay Positive About Education as a Profession

Legislative 21 Professional Association of Georgia Educators 2016 Legislative Agenda

Legal 25  Follow Best Practices in Fundraising for Your Classroom Technology in the Classroom 26  The Internet of Things: A Powerful Pathway to Personalized Learning

Professional Learning 22  Principal and Teacher Leaders: On the Path to School Transformation

Foundation News 28  PAGE Foundation Donors Profoundly Impact Lives of Georgia Students and Educators 29  Business Leaders Spearhead GAD Fundraising Campaign 29  Chick-fil-A Foundation Awards $20,000 to PAGE Foundation PAGE Leadership 30  2015-16 PAGE Officers & Board of Directors 31  Call for Nomination of PAGE Officers

12

22 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 2016

EDITORIAL STAFF

NEW SOUTH PUBLISHING

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 Lindsay Penticuff

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

Associate Editor Jacqui Frasca

PAGE ONE  3


From the President

Frustrated Veteran Teachers Are Leaving the Profession Stephanie Davis Howard

R

ecently, we’ve heard reports of frustrated veteran teachers leaving education. In one case, a Teacher of the Year resigned over a dispute regarding her qualifications to teach at a grade level assigned by the district. In another, a teacher cited the increasing unrealistic expectations of special needs students, leading to frustration and failure. At the same time, we’ve seen a marked decline in the number of students enrolled in teacher education programs in colleges and universities throughout Georgia. Throughout the past few years, there appears to be a systematic dismantling of public education. Districts have been forced to struggle with furlough days, larger class sizes and salary freezes, and administrators and teachers alike are subject to an evolving evaluation system. Perceived effectiveness, and therefore salary, may soon be tied to student learning objectives, student/parent surveys, inconsistent or incomplete student growth data and inequitable funding models in high-poverty districts. Teachers who have invested years in this calling may soon face a dramatically different compensation plan. For many,

I submit that Georgia’s improved graduation rate is due in large part to the thousands of teachers who work with students who are pursuing multiple paths to graduation. Teachers understand that students are also struggling with changes in the curriculum, extensive testing, larger class sizes and a myriad of personal and social issues that affect their performance and well-being.

4  PAGE ONE

changing policies in funding, compensation and evaluation translate to a lack of respect for the profession. A teacher’s top concern is student success. We’ve recently received good news both here in Georgia and throughout the country regarding graduation rates. According to State School Superintendent Richard Woods, Georgia’s significant jump in its graduation rate — from 72.2 percent in 2014 to 78.8 percent in 2015 — is a result of “personalized graduation plans with multiple paths to graduation.” These paths include tutoring and mentor programs; CTAE and career-readiness programs; flexiblelearning programs; social interventions; online education; and a variety of credit-recovery opportunities. I submit that Georgia’s improved graduation rate is due in large part to the thousands of teachers who work with students who are pursuing multiple paths to graduation. Teachers understand that students are also struggling with changes in the curriculum, extensive testing, larger class sizes and a myriad of personal and social issues that affect their performance and well-being. It saddens me to hear of teachers who choose to leave the field prematurely. I respect their decision, as their level of frustration may take a toll on their families and health. It is unfortunate to lose talented and effective teachers. However, I truly admire those who, despite the “distractors,” have chosen to stay and make a difference, expending their time, resources and energy to find more effective, innovative and successful strategies to increase n student achievement.

January/February 2016


From the Executive Director

Reasons to Stay Positive About Education as a Profession

A

new calendar year brings with it a measure of hope and anticipation of good things to come. Half of our academic year is complete, and graduating students begin to realize their commencement date can be calculated in months and weeks, not years. High school students consider college and what it will take to prepare for a career, while college students prepare for their first professional job. Unfortunately, the number of students choosing teaching as their career has been decreasing in recent years, with a 16 percent decline in enrollments in Georgia colleges and universities coming into this year. The reasons vary, although the generally understood issues are declining respect for teaching as a profession, lack of autonomy in the classroom, overemphasis on standardized testing, performance evaluations linked too closely to student performance scores and compensation stagnation. For many young people, choosing a teaching career may seem to be a commitment to a frustrating and difficult professional existence. While understanding that these issues are real, I choose to be positive when faced with a challenge. At PAGE, we believe that each of these circumstances can be overcome and progress is being made. Through advocacy at the state and national level and a groundswell of grassroots support from students, parents and educators, I sense that a shift in attitudes is coming. There is a growing realization that learning happens best when educators have the time and opportunity to build good relationships with students while working on relevant content — not prepping for and administering tests. In the past year, the federal and state departments of education have expressed their evolving opinions that testing takes up too much instructional time and distracts teachers and schools from quality teaching. The annual PDK/Gallup Poll provided significant data that the public does not support standardized tests as the most effective measure of student success or of a teacher’s abilities. The poll also clearly highlights that a majority of Americans believe that public education is underfunded.

January/February 2016

I also see positive indicators that our young people still want to be teachers. Last year, PAGE reinstituted the Future Georgia Educators program in high schools across the state. We provide curriculum for teachers and their students, make classroom presentations and sponsor FGE conferences on college campuses throughout Georgia. We are sponsoring six such conferences this school year. The two held so far have proven to be highly successful in connecting hundreds of prospective future educators with colleges of education. In focus groups conducted by PAGE at these events and in responses to surveys, high school students demonstrate a realistic and enthusiastic attitude toward becoming teachers. They express a desire to make real connections with students in ways that promote positive change in students’ lives. It is clear that the way to improve the teacher preparation pipeline is to encourage and support those exploring teaching as a career. FGE is a powerful tool in this regard. I am also encouraged about the future of our profession because of the excellent professional development work I have witnessed in south Georgia. PAGE sponsors professional learning in a collaborative network of Berrien, Brooks, Lowndes and Tift counties. Another joint effort is underway for districts in the ChattahoocheeFlint and the Southwest Georgia RESAs. These initiatives facilitate effective multi-district collaboration among teachers, administrators and superintendents on how to measurably improve student engagement and progress in their schools. In working to engage students, educators themselves are highly engaged. I was thrilled to hear, for example, that a group of Tift County teachers asked their administration and PAGE to hold an additional session after school hours to fill in the gaps from professional learning in which they had been unable to participate. Sharing knowledge and encouraging learning is a noble calling that compels people to engage with others. I have faith that together we will identify, support and encourage young people to n respond to the call to become a teacher.

Dr. Allene Magill

There is a growing realization that learning happens best when educators have the time and opportunity to build good relationships with students while working on relevant content — not prepping for and administering tests.

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America’s 2nd Largest Independent Education Association

PAGE Membership Tops 90,000

P

AGE exceeded the 90,000 membership mark this fall and extended its reach as the largest educator group in Georgia. We are the second largest independent state educator association in the country, surpassed only by Texas. I attribute our membership growth to the value that PAGE provides the majority of Georgia educators in key areas: •  We connect with teachers, administrators and students at the local level through our professional learning initiatives. •  We are strong advocates for public education and educators at the state level through our work with legislators, the Department of Education, the Professional Standards Commission,

the Teachers Retirement System and the Department of Community Health (SHBP), as well as with other professional associations that support public education. •  We provide unsurpassed legal support to members via our in-house legal staff and our statewide network of more than 40 attorneys. •  We provide hands-on service to members at local schools through our membership and college services representatives. •  We communicate clearly and consistently with you about issues that affect educators and education in Georgia and beyond.

The growth of PAGE reflects our unwavering focus on our core business: to provide professional learning for educators to enhance competence and confidence, build leadership and increase student achievement while providing the best in membership, legislative and legal services and support. Thank you to all of our long-standing and new members for continuing to choose PAGE as your professional association. We are honored to serve you.

Dr. Allene Magill, PAGE Executive Director

Membership Growth

100,000 90,000 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000

30,000 20,000 10,000 0 1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1995

Membership

6  PAGE ONE

2000

2005

2010

2015

2020

Top 10

January/February 2016


PAGE Special Report: Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Teacher Recruitment and Retention a Concern for Georgia School Districts By Christine Van Dusen

T

he phone rang at 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday. The number was familiar. Flavia Gordon-Gunter picked up and heard only silence. Then came a small voice: “I can’t do this anymore.

I’m not going back.” The caller was a third-grade teacher, new to the profession, and beaten down after arguing with a parent about a student’s misconduct. Gordon-Gunter understood. She’d been a teacher before becoming a full-time mentor and knew the importance of getting emotional and instructional support from people who’d been through it all before. “I talked her through everything — what her challenges were, what she had control over and what she didn’t, and helped create an action plan,” Gordon-Gunter says of that night in 2005. “We unpacked all of it, talking until midnight. She reported to work the next morning.” Fast-forward a decade and GordonGunter gets a call from that same teacher. This time the teacher is talking about taking the next step in her career, maybe moving out of the classroom to become the kind of mentor she’d relied on as a rookie teacher. “She knows that if she had not received the intensive support, she would not have made it,” says Gordon-

January/February 2016

Gunter, now the Teacher Effectiveness Program Administrator for Atlanta Public Schools. “It’s a significant part of keeping the workforce stable.” The story of this Atlanta educator — one of the more than 111,000 public school teachers in Georgia — cuts to the heart of a significant issue: It can be tough to find new teachers who are

PAGE ONE  7


1

2

prepared for the academic and emotional rigors of the classroom — and it takes hard work to keep them from walking away. Although teaching remains the nation’s largest occupation, employing about 3.12 million people, Georgia faces a shrinking pool of educators. The number of teachers here has dropped by about 7,000 since 2008, reports the Georgia Department of Education. A key reason is that fewer students are enrolling in teacher preparation programs at the collegiate level. Why? Teaching sometimes gets a bad rap and, in a better economy, graduates tend to pursue higher-paying jobs. The current base salary for a teacher in Georgia is $33,424. As a result, many districts struggle to staff their classrooms, particularly in rural and poorer areas. Enrollment in education programs at Georgia’s colleges and universities is 3 down as much as 20 percent over the past five years, says Dr. Bob Michael, associate vice chancellor for educator preparation and policy for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. “Nationally, we’re seeing the same trend,” he says. In general, Georgia lacks enough Spanish and special education teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education. Many schools say they’re also desperate for teachers who focus

on STEM content (science, technology, engineering and math). Shortages aren’t occurring at every school, but most administrators would say that recruitment is a challenge. The difficulty doesn’t end once a school makes a hire. Since 2008, the rate of turnover in the first year in Georgia has hovered between 12 and 16 percent, reports the Georgia DOE. And by year five, the attrition rate of new teachers in Georgia grows to 44 percent. The rate of attrition among educators is relatively high compared to some other careers, according to a 2014 study by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Teachers leave their jobs at about the same rate as police officers and considerably more often than nurses, lawyers and engineers. The reasons for teacher turnover are many: inconsistency in college prep programs, shrinking school budgets, a lack of autonomy for teachers, distracting duties outside the classroom, emphasis on narrow content focused on standardized curriculum, micromanagement from administration and student disciplinary problems. Teachers pour emotional energy into their work, which breeds exhaustion. And they experience the frustrating uphill battle that comes along with teaching — particularly in low-performing schools and environments in which the teachers lack “voice,” says Dr. Richard Ingersoll, a renowned expert and professor of education and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of

In Search of Future Georgia Educators Future Georgia Educators has extended its reach beyond school clubs and conferences tailored to students considering a career in teaching. Like a scout on the sidelines of a ballgame, peering through binoculars in search of the next star, Jimmy Jordan is on the lookout. He knows there is undiscovered talent out there, and he’s tasking Georgia’s teachers to help in the search. “We’re asking teachers and

8  PAGE ONE

administrators to identify students in their high school who might be interested in education as a career,” said Jordan, PAGE director of membership. “If they know a student is interested in being an athletic coach, then reach out to athletes and talk about how coaching and teaching are natural complementary career choices.” FGE is also working to help sell kids on a career in education. “When teachers are in the news,

it’s sometimes because they’ve done something wrong,” Jordan said. “You also hear about the increased emphasis on testing as an accountability and evaluation tool for teachers, as well as increased requirements for lesson planning and all the things teachers have to do in addition to teaching. We’re trying to get beyond all those issues that might discourage kids from choosing to be a teacher but letting them know how rewarding teaching

January/February 2016


4

It can be tough to find new teachers who are prepared for the academic and emotional rigors of the classroom — and it takes hard work to keep them from walking away. Education. “If you’re losing a lot of teachers every year, it’s disruptive and can leave things in shambles; you’re constantly reinventing the wheel,” he adds. Moreover, excessive turnover robs students of quality instruction. Recent studies suggest that the average teacher’s ability to boost student achievement increases for at least the first decade of his or her career — and likely longer, Education Week reported in March 2015. The article, titled “New Studies Find That, for Teachers, Experience Really Does Matter,” cites significant gains made by veteran teachers. In one study, Brown University researchers looked at some 200,000 student test scores linked to about 3,500 teachers from an unnamed urban district. They analyzed the data using three different assumptions about how to capture growth in teacher effectiveness as teachers gain experience. Under all three models, the researchers found that teachers’ ability to improve student achievement persisted

well beyond the three- to five-year mark. “While the teachers did make the most progress during their first few years in the classroom, teachers improved their ability to boost student test scores on average by 40 percent between their 10th and their 30th year on the job,” the article stated. The improvements were seen in both reading and math teachers, but were stronger in mathematics. Teacher turnover also costs Georgia dearly — about $37,000 to $81,000 per teacher, according to an analyses by Ingersoll of the 2007-08 Schools Statistics and Staff Survey data.

An Emphasis on Field Experience

Experts say that tackling the problem of turnover best begins in the aspiring teacher’s college classroom. Though in the past, there was a lot of inconsistency from one educator preparation program to another, colleges in Georgia are increasingly standardizing their approach to education Continued on page 11

can be and how important teachers are. Even with all of the frustrations we want them to understand what a satisfying job teaching can be.” The strategy is proving successful. Whereas in recent years the attendance at FGE’s spring conference had waned to about 80 participants, a PAGE FGE Day event at Middle Georgia State University in Macon last fall attracted 300 high school students. Sessions included “An Uptown Funky Classroom,” “Branching Out Into a Harmonious

January/February 2016

Classroom,” “Keep Calm and Interact,” “Learning to be a Jester” and “Tunes for Teaching.” The hope is that a majority of the attendees will pursue a teaching degree in college, and perhaps focus on content areas where teachers are needed most. “There has been a shortage in specialized fields for several years now: high school math, foreign language, areas of special education and — for the first time — elementary education slots,” Jordan said. “For the

Future Georgia Educator Days 1. Rutland HS (Bibb) senior Morgan Knight (center) with CTI coordinator Cynthia Dennis (left) and Early Childhood Education instructor Rose Thompson. 2. Dr. Thomas Koballa Jr., dean of Georgia Southern University College of Education, with PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill. 3. Georgia Southern University College of Education Associate Dean Dr. Deborah Thomas (left) and Toccoa Falls College Senior Admissions Counselor Christine Diskin. 4. Dr. Julie Maudlin, associate professor, Georgia Southern University College of Education.

2015-2016 school year, we set a goal of having 1,000 high school kids at our conferences, and we’re going to exceed that goal. We want to show them what great teaching looks and feels like.” PAGE will host Future Georgia Educator Day at Berry College on Feb. 4, Georgia Southwestern State University on Feb. 11 and the University of Georgia on Feb. 23. For information, go to pageinc.org and click the FGE link.

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Georgia School Staffing: A 3-Year Look High-Vacancy Subjects Subject Special Education (PK-12) Early Childhood Education (PK-5) Math (6-12) Science (6-12) English (6-12) Language Arts (4-8) Social Science (4-8) Math (4-8) Music (P-12)

Spring 2013 143 81 26 15

Spring 2014 211 261 89 63

Spring 2015 241 148 73 41

16 13 11 17 10

49 39 25 34 41

39 27 24 21 29

Mismatch of Supply and Demand

?

Metro vs Rural

Metropolitan school districts in Georgia had over

•  Early childhood vacancies are among the highest each year, even though Early Childhood Education graduates are plentiful. •  Over half of the annual supply of newly prepared ECE teachers do not teach in Georgia public schools the year following their program completion. •  For some high-vacancy fields, such as special education, math and science, the numerical supply is below each year’s hiring demand.

All districts reporting

75% of all vacancies.

“no vacancy”

were rural counties (65 rural districts in 2012; 81 rural districts in 2013; 76 rural districts in 2014).

fewer vacancies

Proportionally were reported in the

northern districts than elsewhere.

Vacancies in Low-Performing Schools Georgia’s lowerperforming schools had a vacancy rate significantly higher than the vacancy rate of higher-performing schools.

The greater the attrition from a school, the more likely that a school is to have vacancies the next fall.

Source: GaPSC/Georgia School Staffing Survey 10  PAGE ONE

January/February 2016


training. Commonalities now include an ethics assessment, a performance assessment and extended clinical experiences — with student teaching taking on some of the qualities of a medical resident’s rounds. Colleges are also collaborating more with area K-12 schools. Richmond County Schools’ partnership with Georgia Regents University, for example, provides student teachers to the district’s urban and rural schools. “They’re observing and working with the students,” says Debbie Alexander, associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction and technology at RCS. “The sooner they can see what teaching is about, the more likely they will be successful.” Then there’s Experience UGA, a partnership between the University of Georgia and the Clarke County School District that began in 2008 on a small scale and by 2011 grew into a collaboration between the university and all of the schools in the district. “The idea is to create a much stronger connection, maybe even a seamless blend of theory and practice, between the world of the university and the school,” says Janna Dresden, director of the Office of School Engagement and a clinical associate professor in the Early Childhood Program at UGA. “When teachers are well prepared and have practiced education, they do better and stay longer.” Dresden, for example, teaches her Early Childhood Methods class on site at J.J. Harris Elementary Charter School in Athens. “What used to happen is that they’d take classes on campus, then do field work at a school, then come back and try to integrate what they’d seen, but they wouldn’t know how,” she says. “We’re trying to rectify that [by] integrating theory and practice.” UGA offers 23 education-related courses inside local K-12 schools. “Sometimes we’ll take 25 students into a classroom and line the walls, silently, and watch a session for 20 minutes and think of questions to ask the teacher when [he or she] has a break,” Dresden says. “It’s really powerful learning.” This not only sets aspiring teachers on the right path, it often leads to new hires

“The idea is to create a much stronger connection, maybe even a seamless blend of theory and practice, between the world of the university and the school. … When teachers are well prepared and have practiced education, they do better and stay longer.”

Continued on page 12 January/February 2016

— Janna Dresden, Early Childhood Program at UGA.

Statewide Cumulative Teacher Attrition Over Five Years – 35% 40% 35%

34%

35%

36% FifthYear

30% 25%

FourthYear

20%

Third Year

15% SecondYear

10% 5% 0%

First Year

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Statewide Cumulative New Teacher Hire Attrition Over Five Years – 44% 50%

40%

44%

44%

44%

FifthYear

FourthYear

30%

Third Year

20%

SecondYear

10% First Year

0%

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Source: Georgia Department of Education PAGE ONE  11


6

‘We had a reduction in the workforce a few years ago, so we had more teachers than we needed. That tide has quickly changed. … We’re trying to think of anything we can to entice them. It’s become very competitive out there.’ – Heather Bilton, Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

7

for the K-12 school involved. “Some students who have taken a class onsite have then done placement in that school for student teaching, and then they were hired,” she continues. “In their first official year, they have the confidence of a second- or third-year teacher. They already have so much more experience.”

8

‘The Pipeline Is Not There’

9

Future Georgia Educator Days 6. MGSU School of Education seniors Rebekah Knight (left) and Diana Nelson. 7. Jerrica Bryant (left) and Anessa Burley from Monroe Comprehensive HS (Dougherty). 8. Diamond Childs from Monroe Comprehensive HS (Dougherty). 9. Ashlee D. Lynn, Georgia Southern University College of Education graduate assistant. 10. Matthew Sylvester, MGSU School of Education advisor.

12  PAGE ONE

Heather Bilton, talent acquisition and retention coordinator for the SavannahChatham County Public School System, uses Facebook and Twitter to attract teachers to the district. “We haven’t had to do that before,” Bilton says. “We had a reduction in the workforce a few years ago, and so we had more teachers than we needed. That tide has quickly changed.” The district is currently growing at a rate of one elementary school a year. “But there aren’t as many teachers and students coming out of the teacher prep programs,” she says. “The pipeline is not there. That’s a concern.” Another first: The 55-school district scheduled a mid-year job fair Nov. 21, 2015. “We still have vacancies to fill,” she says. “Part of that is the usual October and November retirements, but also because we really want to get Savannah on people’s radar.” The district has put together a marketing video, praising the schools and their location, reminding prospective teachers that they could come to work with a kayak on their car and hit the water just minutes after the day’s final bell. SavannahChatham has also raised the starting salary for teachers with a four-year degree to $38,760, one of the highest rates in the region. “We’re working on employee perks, so that when you come to Savannah, area businesses can give teachers discounts,” Bilton says. “We’re trying to think of any-

thing we can to entice them. It’s become very competitive out there.” Like many other districts in Georgia, Savannah-Chatham has also been targeting people in alternative preparation programs, like GaTAPP (Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy), which allows bachelor’s degree-holders to teach on a non-renewable, provisional certificate while taking courses to earn a renewable professional educator certificate. “We’ve done two big, communitywide ‘alternative pathways’ sessions, so that anybody who thought about becoming a teacher is given information,” Bilton says. “Maybe they’re not happy in their current career, or they’re looking for a second career. At our last one in September, 260 people attended.” In all of its marketing efforts, the district plays up its THRIVE! professional development program, which provides newer teachers with training and support from a school site coordinator, mentors and buddies. “We let teachers know that when they come to Savannah, they will be supported,” she says.

Induction Goes Far Beyond Mentoring

For all the standardizing in education, Georgia doesn’t have a statewide policy on induction programs, but that could change. Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission recommended that the state develop induction programs and encourage mentorship. “Grants should be made available to districts [to] communicate a clear and consistent program of induction support,” the commission stated in a presentation. “Due to declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs and an increase in attrition rates, it is imperative that support be given to teachers through strong induction programs.” January/February 2016


10

PAGE Named a ‘Top Association’

According to the DOE, Georgia schools have lacked a common understanding of “induction.” People often use the terms induction and mentoring interchangeably, but mentoring is just one component of the big picture. Induction involves ongoing, systematic training and support for new teachers beginning before the first day of school and continuing throughout the first two or three years of teaching. According to Annette L. Breaux, a public school educator in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and coauthor of “New Teacher Induction: How to Train, Support, and Retain New Teachers,” the basic components of an effective induction program include: •  An initial four or five days of training before school begins •  Ongoing, systematic training over two or three years •  Strong administrative participation in the overall induction process •  A mentoring component •  Study groups in which new teachers network and support one another •  A structure for modeling effective teaching during in-services and mentoring •  Numerous opportunities for inductees to visit demonstration classrooms taught by successful veteran teachers A federally funded randomized, controlled trial of comprehensive teacher induction found that third-year teachers who received two years of comprehensive induction support produced greater student learning gains compared to colleagues served by prevailing induction programs. For teachers who received only one year of comprehensive induction, there was no impact on student n achievement. January/February 2016

James magazine’s 2015 Lobbyist Issue named the Professional Association of Georgia Educators among Georgia’s top 19 associations. It also named PAGE Legislative Policy Analyst Josh Stephens among the state’s 20 Rising Stars. The honorees “are major players in shaping public policy — especially under Atlanta’s ‘Gold Dome,’” wrote Phil Kent, James publisher.

Discover Graduate Programs in Education at Georgia College We’ve Produced Quality Educators for More than 125 Years Our programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Georgia Professional Standards Association (PSC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

PROGRAMS Master of Arts in Teaching in Middle Grades Education (online) Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education* Master of Education in Educational Leadership (online) Educa Master of Education in Middle Grades Education* Master of Education in Early Childhood Education* Master of Education in Special Education* Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership (online) Master of Education in Reading, Literacy and Language* *Indicates programs are offered partially online or hybrid.

Master of Education in Secondary Education (online) Master of Education in Programs in Educational Technology Instructional Technology (online) Master of Education Programs in Library Media (online) Specialist of Education with emphasis in: Early Childhood Education* Middle Grades Education* Secondary Education (online) Specialist of Education in Special Education*

NON-DEGREE CERTIFICATION: Media Specialist, P-12 (online) Instructional Technology, P-12 (online) English to Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement, P - 12 (online) Reading Endorsement* Reading Specialist, P-12*

Learn more at gcsu.edu/education

PAGE ONE  13


W

$1,000 Scholarships for Future and Veteran Educators … But You Can’t Win if You Don’t Apply!

ant to lose $1,000? It is easy if you fail to apply for a PAGE Foundation Scholarship that might have been yours. Each year, the PAGE Foundation offers several $1,000 scholarships to help aspiring and veteran educators earn advanced or undergraduate degrees. Winning a PAGE Foundation Scholarship might be easier than you think; in some categories, few candidates apply. All PAGE members, including college students, paraprofessionals and veteran educators, are encouraged to compete. More than $300,000 in scholarships have been awarded by the PAGE Foundation since 1986. You could be a future recipient, but you must apply. Visit www.pagefoundation.org/scholarships to learn more. Application deadline is April 30, 2016.

Chantrell Bruton, one of several PAGE Foundation scholarship winners

English Studies for language arts teachers Online Master of English Studies The Valdosta State University Master of Arts in English Studies for Language Arts Teachers is an innovative online degree program designed specifically for language arts teachers who wish to expand their content knowledge in the major subfields of the discipline, including literature, compostion, rhetoric, linguistics and creative writing.

• A fully accredited, fully online program, housed in a major comprehensive state university. • Designed for K-12 language arts teachers working full-time. • Can be completed in two years including summers. • Content covers all major subfields in English studies. • Traditional Master of Arts in English also offered.

Application Deadlines Spring 2016: November 15 Summer 2016: April 15 Fall 2016: July 15

www.valdosta.edu/maeslat 14  PAGE ONE

Valdosta State University

January/February 2016


PAGE Special Report: Teacher Recruitment and Retention

FGE Students Identify What Draws Them to Teaching By Josh Stephens, PAGE Legislative Policy Analyst

T

he ability to interact with students and positively affect their futures was cited as the No. 1 reason that nearly 250 Georgia high school students said they wish to pursue teaching as a career. Members of the Future Georgia Educators program were polled and interviewed at FGE conferences held this fall at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro and Middle Georgia State University in Macon. FGE is a PAGE-sponsored high school student organization that works to identify, recruit, prepare and retain the next generation of Georgia’s teachers. At each FGE conference, a PAGE legislative staff member surveyed participants and facilitated focus groups designed to identify what drives high school students to pursue a career in teaching. In light of the declining enrollment in Georgia’s teacher preparation programs and the recommendations of the state’s Education Reform Commission, PAGE thought it important to speak with students poised at the start of the teacher pipeline. Continued on page 16

Support for teacher salary based on job performance Strongly Oppose

10.4%

Strongly Oppose

Strongly Supportive

10.4%

32.4%

Oppose

9.5%

Oppose

Strongly Supportive

9.5%

32.4%

Neutral

27%

Supportive

20.7%

Neutral

27%

Supportive

20.7%

Support for teacher salary based on student performance on standardized tests

Strongly Oppose

37.1%

Strongly Supportive

Strongly Oppose

37.1%

8.3%

Strongly Supportive Supportive 8.3%

Oppose

10.4%

20.8%

Supportive

10.4%

Oppose

Neutral

23.3%

20.8%

Neutral

23.3%

Thank you to the following photographers for the FGE Day photos in this article and in the cover story: Emily Bramlett (left) and Sydney Reece from Rutland HS (Bibb) with their college fair goodie bags.

January/February 2016

Lisa Akers, Georgia Southern University Libby Sizemore and Megan Gray, Middle Georgia State University Rose Thompson, M.Ed., Rutland High School (Macon) PAGE ONE  15


Future Georgia Educators Day at Middle Georgia State University. PAGE is sponsoring five FGE conferences throughout Georgia in 2015-16.

The key findings of the ing advanced degrees and focus groups are as follows: years of teaching experi• Overwhelmingly, ence), 81 percent of 241 FGE students agreed that the respondents said they were factor that most attracts very supportive to somewhat them to teaching is the supportive. When asked to ability to interact with rate their support for basing students and positively teacher salary on job perforaffect student lives. mance, the numbers were •  When asked how identical: 81 percent. When class size has impacted asked to rate their support their education, nearly for basing teacher salary all participants reported on student standardized MGSU School of Education advisor Matthew Sylvester (left) that larger class sizes have test results, 58 percent were meets with Jalin Brown (center) and Sanitizzia Mosely from hindered their ability to Monroe Comprehensive HS (Dougherty). either somewhat opposed or learn due to educators’ completely opposed. inability to individualize FGE students were also instruction. The survey sought student input on asked to prioritize various teacher sal•  When asked about their willingness teacher pay and teacher recruitment — ary ideas. A slight majority of students, to teach in high-poverty schools, most stutopics at the center of Education Reform 56 percent, ranked “increased salary for dents expressed a desire to provide an eduCommission discussions in recent months. additional voluntary roles outside the cation to students who struggle the most. When asked to rate their support for classroom, such as teacher mentoring, Some respondents, however, feared the lack Georgia’s current teacher compensation coaching or grade-level chair” as the top of resources in many high-poverty schools. system (paying teachers based on obtainidea. The idea ranked as worst by 54 per-

Attraction to Education Field: Considerations ranked in order of importance and attraction to education field. Important (1) to not important (8)

Salary: 0

10

20

1

30

40

2

50

3

60

4

70

80

90

100

5

6

7

8

Important

Not Important

Personal satisfaction and sense of professional purpose: 0

10

20

1 Important

16  PAGE ONE

30

40

50

2

60

3

4

70

5

80

6

90

7

100

8

Not Important

January/February 2016


(l-r) Maggie Davis, Hannah Hinton and Rachel Norton from Walnut Grove HS (Walton).

cent of students was “increased salary for voluntarily accepting additional students in the classroom.” When asked what would attract them to the education field, 39 percent of students ranked “personal satisfaction and sense of professional purpose” as most important. “Salary” was most important to 20 percent of students, and “cost of college” was the top motivator for 16 percent of respondents. Only 2 percent ranked retirement benefits

(l-r) Sierra Oliver, Santizzia Mosely and Jalexius Terrel from Monroe Comprehensive HS (Dougherty).

as most important. Other options included healthcare benefits, teacher schedule, mentoring of teachers and an “other” category. To conclude the survey, students were asked if they would be willing to teach in different types of schools. Seventytwo percent said they would teach in a high-poverty urban school; 75 percent said they would teach at a high-poverty rural school; 90 percent said they would teach at a rural school. The top two con-

siderations that would make the students likely to accept employment in these areas — higher pay and their desire to make a difference in the lives of children. PAGE is sharing the aggregate results of these finding with state leaders as part of ongoing discussions surrounding education funding and teacher recruitment, retention and compensation. PAGE will keep all student focus group and survey n results strictly anonymous.

Teacher Recruitment: Ideas ranked for recruiting new teachers. Most attractive (1) to least attractive (4)

Service cancellable student loans 0

10

20

30

40

1

50

60

2

70

80

3

90

100

4

Raising the minimum starting salary for Georgia teachers from approximately $35,000 to $40,000 0

10

20

30

40

1

50

60

70

2

80

90

3

100

4

Ramping up new teacher salaries quickly during the first few years of teaching 0

10

20

30

1

40

50

60

2

70

80

90

100

4

3

Changing teacher retirement benefits from a pension plan with a guaranteed retirement benefit to a 401(k) plan 0

10

1

January/February 2016

20

30

2

40

50

60

3

70

80

90

100

4

PAGE ONE  17


PAGE Special Report: Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Survey Shines Light on Dissatisfaction With School Funding and Teacher Evaluations By Josh Stephens, PAGE Legislative Policy Analyst

T

his past fall, PAGE surveyed more than 6,200 Georgia educators on issues expected to arise during the 2016 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Much of the survey centered on recommendations made by Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission. More than 70 percent of survey respondents are veteran classroom teachers with more than 10 years of service. Of the respondents, 65 percent said they are unlikely to remain in education for the next 10 years. Almost the same percentage would not recommend a career in education — creating further concern for an increased shortage of teachers. Georgia’s practice of basing educator evaluations on student standardized test scores garnered the highest level of opposition from survey respondents. Educators also strongly oppose converting the Teacher Retirement System to a defined contribution plan from a defined benefit plan. Increasing educator

participation in decisions related to the State Health Benefit Plan received strong support. An overwhelming 83 percent of educators believe that the continuation of austerity cuts proposed in the new school funding formula will be detrimental to their students. Comments from educators included the following: •  “The state is not fully funding education and local districts are not able to close the gap. Teachers are being asked to do more with less funding.” •  “Austerity cuts take much-needed funds away from local school districts. This leads to increased class sizes, lack of updated and appropriate instructional materials, and facilities that are in need of repair and maintenance.” •  “The continued austerity cuts hamper our system’s ability to provide current technology to our students.” •  “The move to online testing has pushed the limits of our available technology.”

Do you support Georgia’s existing teacher compensation system? (Responses: 4,381) 50%

24.7%

5.5%

Strongly Support

Support

Neutral

Oppose

Strongly Oppose

How confident are you in your state’s ability to develop an effective treacher compensation plan? (Responses: 4,415) 60%

40% 29.1%

50%

31.1%

49.8%

40%

22.1%

20%

33.7%

30%

14.9%

20%

10% 2.8%

18  PAGE ONE

No 50.4%

10.3%

How confident are you in your district’s ability to develop an effective treacher compensation plan? (Responses: 4,406)

0%

Yes 16.7%

20%

10%

30%

Would you opt to switch to a new compensation system that incorporates pay-for-performance? (Responses: 4,348)

Maybe 32.8%

20%

0%

More than 64 percent of surveyed educators support Georgia’s current teacher compensation model that pays for years of experience and advanced degrees. The proposed plan tasks local districts with developing their own teacher compensation models or adopting one of several state-funded models. The Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Compensation Committee requires that districts build “effectiveness” (mostly based on standardized test scores) into the plan. Approximately 91 percent of educators oppose this. More than 60 percent of educators do not have confidence in their local district’s capacity to develop the compensation model described above. Nearly 84 percent do not have confidence in the state to do so either. Educators are opposed that 50 percent of teacher evaluations are currently based on student test scores. As for what percentage of TKES should be based on

39.5%

40% 30%

END TEST SCORE EVALUATIONS

Very doubtful

Doubtful

Neutral

Confident

Very confident

12.4%

10% 0%

3.8% Very doubtful

Doubtful

Neutral

Confident

0.4% Very confident

January/February 2016


standardized test scores, 44 percent of respondents chose “none” and 35 percent of those surveyed chose 10 or 20 percent. Respondents also disagree with the current practice of basing 70 percent of a school leader’s evaluation on student test schools. As to what percentage of LKES should factor in school leader evaluations, nearly 40 percent of respondents chose “none” and about 31 percent of those surveyed chose 10 or 20 percent. PRESERVE TRS, SHRINK PRE-K CLASSES

The Governor’s Education Reform Commission was divided into five committees: Funding; Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Compensation; Move On When Ready; Early Childhood Education; and School Choice. We asked educators to prioritize the ERC recommendations. (The survey was conducted

in November 2015 prior to the adoption of the ERC’s final recommendations.) Of the 11 recommendations from the Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Compensation Committee, educators chose as most important: “No changes should be made to the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia for current members … .” The educators’ top-ranked recommendation from the Early Childhood Education Committee was “reduce the Pre-K class size from 22 students to 20 students.” Echoing the top priority of the Move On When Ready Committee, educators chose as their top priority, “ensure students are reading on grade level by the third grade through the expansion of Georgia’s Early Literacy Grant … .” About 51 percent of surveyed educators support the recommendation to clarify

Please rate your support of Georgia’s standardized testing program. (Responses: 5,945) 50%

GUNS IN SCHOOLS

Almost 60 percent of educators “strongly oppose” allowing parents or guardians with a weapons carry license to bring firearms into school buildings. On the flip side, almost 60 percent of educators support increased funding for more school resource officers. In light of recent tragedies, PAGE expects continued conversation from all sides of the issues on Georgia’s gun laws in n the 2016 legislative session.

Rate your satisfaction with basing 50% of TKES evaluation on test scores. (Responses: 4,294) 80%

42.1%

40%

charter school facility laws. Although discussed at length, the ERC decided not to recommend the creation of a new Student Scholarship Organization tax credit program only available to lowincome students — a recommendation that was “opposed” or “strongly opposed” by more than 59 percent of surveyed educators.

71.3%

70%

37.5%

60% 30%

50% 40%

20%

30%

12.3%

10% 0%

1.1% Strongly Support

1.2% Support

18.8%

20%

6% Neutral

Oppose

Strongly Not familiar Oppose enough to respond

Rate your satisfaction with basing 70% of LKES evaluation on test scores. (Responses: 4,286) 80%

0%

0.4%

1.6%

Very satisfied

Satisfied

4.7%

3.1%

Somewhat Unsatisfied Very satisfied unsatisfied

N/A

Please rate your support of Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES)? (Responses: 5,907) 40%

67.8%

70%

10%

32.2%

60%

30%

29.7%

50% 40%

20% 14.3%

30%

19.8%

20% 10% 0%

0.8%

1.4%

Very satisfied

Satisfied

10% 5.9%

4.3% Somewhat Unsatisfied Very satisfied unsatisfied

N/A

Please rate your support of converting Teacher Retirement System from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan. (Responses: 5,933) 60% 49.6%

50%

4.3%

2.4%

0%

Strongly Support

Support

Neutral

Oppose

Strongly Not familiar Oppose enough to respond

Please rate your support of increasing educator participation in decisions related to the State Health Benefit Plan. (Responses: 5,948) 70% 60%

58.1%

50%

40%

40%

30% 19.4%

20% 10.7%

10% 0%

17.1%

1.6%

3.1%

Strongly Support

Support

30% 15.6%

24.1%

20%

Neutral

Oppose

Strongly Not familiar Oppose enough to respond

0%

8.3%

6.7%

10%

1.1% Strongly Support

Support

Neutral

Oppose

1.8% Strongly Not familiar Oppose enough to respond

Continued on page 20 January/February 2016

PAGE ONE  19


Will the continuation of education austerity cuts proposed in the school funding formula be detrimental to your students? (Responses: 4,194)

If you knew your pay would not be increased, would you have attended graduate school? (Responses: 4,297)

Yes 21.2%

No 16.6%

No 78.9%

Yes 83.4%

How likely are you to remain in education for the next 10 years? (Responses: 4,190)

How likely are you to recommend a career in education? (Responses: 4,191)

50%

50%

40%

40%

42.6% 31.5%

30% 20%

30% 18.4%

17.9% 13.6%

16.3%

10% Very Likely

Likely

Somewhat Likely

Unlikely

Very Unlikely

N/A

Save ate the D r o f g in

Even s r o t a Educ 2016 3 M a rc h

20  PAGE ONE

8.9%

10% 3.2%

2.4%

0%

25.4% 19.9%

20%

,

0%

Very Likely

Likely

Somewhat likely

Unlikely

Very unlikely

Join us for family friendly activities, professional learning hours, free tickets to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and more! Learn more at alliancetheatre.org/foreducators

Plus!

Mark your calendar for the

Woodruff Arts Center Educator Conference June 7–9, 2016 Learn more at alliancetheatre.org/edconference

January/February 2016


Legislative

Professional Association of Georgia Educators 2016 Legislative Agenda By Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Services

RECONSIDER TESTING & EVALUATION POLICIES Professional educators support thoughtful student assessment and fair and comprehensive performance evaluations. State leaders should review Georgia’s high-stakes testing program and its impact on teacher performance evaluation. Policymakers should adjust the implementation of Georgia’s statewide teacher and leader evaluation system to ensure success of the program. The program does not measure the progress of Georgia students against a national standard and makes a poor criterion for a “Pay for Performance” system. Additionally, Georgia’s controversial student testing program takes too much time away from student learning and does not provide teachers with timely information allowing them to adjust how and what they teach. High-stakes student tests are

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Feb. 16 • Breakfast at the Capitol • Meetings and Lunch with Legislators Register now at www.pageinc.org

a source of excessive stress and should account for no more than 20 percent of educator performance evaluations. REVIEW THE IMPACT OF ONGOING SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS ON ERC RECOMMENDATIONS The Governor’s Education Reform Commission has recommended an ambitious slate of proposals. Successful implementation of the recommendations is in jeopardy if recession-era austerity cuts remain in place. Georgia’s public schools serve more than 1 million low-income students. Funding should be targeted to student demographics and at levels sufficient to allow impoverished students to succeed academically. Enrollment in Georgia’s teacher preparation programs is down 16 percent. How will Georgia recruit and retain effective

educators to meet student needs and implement new teacher compensation programs when $250 million in austerity cuts remain in place? REVERSE CLASS SIZE INCREASES & RESTORE A FULL SCHOOL YEAR State leaders should provide resources to reverse the trend of rising class sizes and the reduction of a full school year. Smaller class sizes are particularly important in classes comprised of struggling students in the early grades and in math and science courses. Policymakers should provide funding so that all of Georgia’s public school students can attend class for at least 180 days. Georgia must also stabilize its curriculum and give teachers 10 days of meaningful professional learning and n class preparation.

On behalf of Georgia’s 1.7 million students 2016 Legislative Session

Compensation Reform Hurts Georgia Teachers & Students We know that high-stakes testing hurts students. To roll back the over-emphasis on testing, it must be unlinked from educator evaluation, compensation and certification. Teacher compensation reform proponents frame their proposals as “merit pay.” However, our school districts already have the ability to offer merit pay, and they can differentiate compensation for critical needs areas, such as math and science. The proposed overhaul of teacher compensation isn’t about merit pay; it’s about basing teacher pay on test scores. This is bad for teachers and worse for students. Students deserve to learn academic content and to develop as critical and creative thinkers from teachers who are focused on student instructional needs rather than on how that student may affect their pay.

Educators: Ask your House & Senate member to take the “I Promise” pledge today:

☐ I promise to roll back over-testing of Georgia students. ☐ I promise to oppose teacher pay that is reliant on student test scores.

770-216-8555

January/February 2016

PAGE ONE  21


Professional Learning Principal and Teacher Leaders:

On the Path to School Transformation

T

he PAGE Principal and Teacher Leadership Network is a twoyear experience whereby principals and teachers collaborate to develop engagement-focused schools. Educators in engagement-focused schools spend time getting to know students well and design rigorous, relevant work

that students find interesting. Principal and teacher teams from each school apply their growing understanding of transformational change, capacity building, engagement and design to improve their schools. As a team, participants are in year two of assembling artifacts of their work and are creating a portfolio chronicling the work

they will lead in their respective school or district. The school teams in this network learn from each other and, just as importantly, from other educators in districts across the state. For more information about the PAGE Principal and Teacher Leadership Network, please contact Angela Garrett at 706-459-0302 or agarrett@pageinc.org. n

2

1

4

3

5

22  PAGE ONE

January/February 2016


6

7

1. Nikia Williams (left) and Paul Allen from Central HS (Bibb) 2. Kevin Trobaugh and (left) Principal Ronnie Bradford from Heritage HS (Catoosa). 3. (l-r) Ashworth MS Principal Scott McClanahan, Red Bud MS Principal Jenny Hayes and Sonoraville HS Principal Bruce Potts (Gordon).

8

4. Schlechty Center Senior Associate Deanna Howard. 5. (l-r) Regina Reed, Katie Walker, Alisha Durant from Todd Grant ES (McIntosh), and Gillian Phillips and Amanda Burton from Factory Shoals MS (Douglas). 6. (l-r) Kathy Conger, Mandy Wilson, Karen Thompson and Ben Mallory from Crisp County HS.

9

7. Back (l-r) Principal Angela Carter and Gillian Phillips from Factory Shoals MS (Douglas); and front (l-r) Jill Ryerson, Belinda Sloan and Principal Andrea Bradley from North Whitfield MS (Whitfield). 8. Matt Earl (left) and Hannah Sosebee from Lafayette MS (Walker). 9. (l-r) Kim Carter, Melanie Moore and Jessica Westmoreland from Ashworth MS (Gordon).

Photos by Meg Thornton

Continued on page 24 January/February 2016

PAGE ONE  23


Professional Learning 11

12

13

11. (l-r) Lori Key, Becky Hulsey and Jana Combs from Sonoraville HS (Gordon). 12. Candace Repress (left) and Wendy Byers from Sonoraville HS (Gordon). 13. Schlechty Center Senior Associate Judy Love.

24  PAGE ONE

January/February 2016


Legal

Follow Best Practices in Fundraising for Your Classroom By Sean DeVetter, PAGE Staff Attorney

I

n response to shrinking school budgets and the rising cost of classroom materials, teachers often serve as fundraisers for their classes. Following these guidelines will help educators avoid common fundraising improprieties. Fundraising generally occurs in one of two forms: Educators arrange to sell a particular item (i.e.: candy, fruit, mugs, etc.) or attempt to raise funds online. Many schools have long-standing traditions of selling particular items anticipated by the local community. When preparing to raise funds for your class, school or system, start by fully disclosing all information and plans to your administration. Most school systems have specific policies and procedures for fundraising, securing outside vendors and reporting and storing funds. Before agreeing to sell materials: • Know all obligations you will have to the vendor. • Have a clear understanding of what the vendor will provide. • Research potential vendors and speak with educators who have worked with these vendors. • Make sure that all items are appropriate to sell by school children. • Make sure students know the sales rules and deadlines. • If the purchased items are being sent to the school and then distributed to the purchaser, make sure a plan exists to store the items in a secure

January/February 2016

location and that a system exists to account for all items stored at school. • Do not agree to a minimum purchase without your administrator’s knowledge. • Most importantly, do not sign contracts with outside vendors without administrative permission.

PAGE attorneys are frequently asked to determine who owns the property purchased with funds from a fundraising website. KNOW EACH VENDOR’S RULES

There are a growing number of websites designed to help classrooms raise funds. When engaging such services, pay close attention to the rules and regulations. Many sites have unique differences that may lead to unintended consequences. Prior to fundraising, know what happens to the property purchased with money raised

online. PAGE attorneys are frequently asked to determine who owns the property purchased with funds from a website. Some fundraising websites allow educators to raise funds but keep a percentage of the funds. Before signing on, read the contract thoroughly and know what, if any, financial obligations you are accepting. And, once again, do not enter into contracts without administrative permission. Once funds have been secured through the sale of items or online fundraising, follow your system’s procedures for reporting and storing funds. Never place funds in a personal account; this may lead to a charge of comingling of funds and could result in an ethics violation. Keep a detailed and always-available account of all money raised. Funds must only be used for their originally intended purpose. Failure to properly handle funds could result in ethical violations and criminal charges. By following these basic steps, educators may avoid most problems arising from fundraising for their classrooms. If you have any questions, please contact n the PAGE legal department. 

Keep a detailed and alwaysavailable account of all money raised, and never place funds in a personal account. PAGE ONE  25


engage

teach 21st-century learners

technology

This PAGE One column features technology-in-the-classroom advice from tech-savvy Georgia educators.

Technology in the Classroom:

The Internet of Things: A Powerful Pathway to Personalized Learning By Keith Osburn, Ph.D., CIO and Director of Special Programs for Jeff Davis County Schools

P Keith Osburn, Ph.D., serves as chief information officer and director of Special Programs for Jeff Davis County Schools. He earned his bachelor’s in science education from Valdosta State University (1991), a master’s in instructional technology from Georgia Southern University (2001) and a doctorate in adult and career education at Valdosta State (2012). The 23-year public school educator, who grew up in Jeff Davis County, says that he was inspired in high school to pursue the profession as a result of exceptional educators, most notably his 11th-grade math teacher Leslie Mills, immediate past president of PAGE. 26  PAGE ONE

ersonalized learning is one of the ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) is radically changing life as we know it. It describes the exchange and enhancement of data via the Internet. By developing a common framework, IMS Global Interoperability Standards enable software vendors to exchange information and thus lay the groundwork for a much higher level of interaction. The sum is greater than the parts. Regarding personalized education, the root data are formative assessments that measure student understanding. Software such as Classworks, DIBELS or Scholastic Reading Inventory first measure student performance

using universal screeners, benchmarks and diagnostics, such as Lexile levels. Secondly, software such as ExamView by Turning Technologies, analyzes the data to provide a real-time analysis of student comprehension. A third integrated software then offers up “smart” objects, such as video or audio clips, mini lessons or URLs, that facilitate meaningful instruction aligned with individual student needs. Safari Montage has a digital library capable of storing smart objects that teachers or curriculum specialists can incorporate into instructional design to construct standardsbased lessons. Other companies offering such tools include Discovery Education, Pearson

Consider a student who has just completed a benchmark assessment, the results of which are seamlessly passed to software that provides an immediate analysis in the form of a standards report. Another tool receives the data and then, based on the assessment results, suggests to the teacher a variety of digital resources that could help remediate or enrich the student’s learning. January/February 2016


Education and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Consider a student who has just completed a benchmark assessment, the results of which are seamlessly passed to software that provides an immediate analysis in the form of a standards report. Another tool receives the data and then, based on the assessment results, suggests to the teacher a variety of digital resources that could help remediate or enrich the student’s learning. This construction of prescriptive, personalized learning is already being used by my school district (Jeff Davis County Schools) and a growing number of others throughout the country. Does your school or district have a pathway to personalized learning? If not, consider taking these steps to help your organization promote personalized learning:

Amanda Miliner

Wes Taylor

2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year

2011 National HS Principal of the Year

GSW M.Ed., Ed. S.

1.  Talk with your district’s technology leaders about drafting a softwareadoption procedure mandating that any software purchases embrace IMS Global Interoperability Standards, specifically Learning Tools Interoperability, Question and Test Interoperability and

GSW M.Ed.

The Choice for Leaders in Education

GRADUATE DEGREE PROGRAMS Master of Education (M. Ed.) Early Childhood Education Middle Grades Language Arts Middle Grades Mathematics Special Education

Education Specialist (Ed. S.) Early Childhood Education Middle Grades Education

Untitled-1.indd 1

January/February 2016

One Roster. 2.  Ask your school or district leaders to consider becoming an IMS Global affiliate. 3.  Research interoperability and visit neighboring school districts that are n using such software.

All programs are accredited by NCATE and meet PSC standards for certification.

For over a century, Georgia Southwestern State University has been providing quality education to classroom teachers and school administrators throughout the Southeast. This remains true today as more and more leading educators earn their graduate degrees each semester from GSW. Southwestern’s commitment to quality and affordability is reflected in the School of Education’s rank as a “Top 5 Best Value” in Georgia by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

SCHOOL of EDUCATION

gsw.edu/soe 12/4/2015 8:31:28 AM

PAGE ONE  27


Foundation News PAGE Foundation Donors Profoundly Impact the Lives of Georgia Students and Educators

P

AGE Foundation donors, many of whom are PAGE members, powerfully alter the course of student and educator lives. From PAGE academic competitions, such as the Academic Bowl for Middle Grades and the Georgia Academic Decathlon, to the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program — the state’s premier academic recognition program — PAGE Foundation awakens in young people an awareness of capabilities and inspires them to strive for achievements that previously seemed out of reach. The PAGE Foundation also supports the core business of PAGE: statewide profes-

sional learning that helps Georgia educators meet the increasingly complex challenges associated with teaching children, many of whom are impoverished. Furthermore, the foundation provides financial scholarships for aspiring, as well as veteran, educators. Finally, you can learn about state legislative actions, best practices in education and foundation academic programs through PAGE TV, which is operated by the foundation in support of PAGE. Because our programs have been so successful, the foundation has set higher goals for 2016. We want to make it possible for many more students and

educators to experience the excitement, sense of accomplishment and increased motivation that have benefitted previous program participants. PAGE Foundation goals for 2016 include: • Expanding the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon; • Expanding corporate support for the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades; • Offering additional scholarships to aspiring and veteran educators; • Perpetuating the 57-year old PAGE n STAR program.

Each year, the PAGE Foundation helps nearly 3,000 Georgia students and teachers fulfill academic dreams. Below are highlights of just a few of the people who credit the PAGE Foundation for positively altering the course of their lives:

Alex Gregory: Chairman, President and CEO of YKK Corporation of America Gregory credits the PAGE STAR program for making him aware of his full potential. “As my senior year began, I had just ended 18 rebellious months during which I had questioned everything established, and I intentionally made the minimum passing score on many of my high school tests. Being named the STAR Student of my high school caused a big light to turn on inside my head. I realized that perhaps I did have some potential after all. … I decided to go to Georgia Tech and become a textile engineer. I also did graduate work and have had a wonderful career with YKK. Receiving the STAR award literally changed my life.”

28  PAGE ONE

Sarita Griggs: Teacher and GAD State Champion Coach Griggs, a Marion County High School teacher and six-time GAD state champion coach, credits her PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon experience as a student with paving her career path. “My parents were academic decathlon coaches. I was part of their first-time team and won gold medals in speech and essay. The experience inspired me to become a teacher. As an educator, I have been lucky enough to coach six state championship decathlon teams. This program is a wonderful, diverse opportunity for students to learn curriculum they would never experience in a regular high school classroom setting.”

Rodney Bullard: V.P. of Community Affairs and Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation Bullard credits the PAGE Foundation’s Academic Bowl for Middle Schools for helping him learn a valuable life lesson. “Academic Bowl was a great learning experience. I learned that preparation and the amount of work you put into something really does result in the success of that effort. I would wholeheartedly encourage students to participate in Academic Bowl.”

January/February 2016


Business Leaders Spearhead GAD Fundraising Campaign

M

ary Long, community relations coordinator of Oglethorpe Power Corp., and Tyler Dobson, president and CEO of Systems Atlanta, have accepted leadership roles in a fundraising campaign for the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon. Dobson and his wife, Heather — a former decathlete who now leads the GAD speech competition — are co-chairing a new committee charged with attracting charitable gifts from former decathletes, team coaches, parents of past and present decathletes and others who informally represent “friends of the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon.” Long, a GAD volunteer for many years, chairs its advisory board, which focuses on corporations and foundations that support education through the involvement of employees and the investment of charitable donations. Her employer, Oglethorpe Power, has made multiple gifts in support of the n PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon.

(l-r) Heather Dobson, Tyler Dobson and Mary Long

Chick-fil-A Foundation Awards $20,000 to PAGE Foundation

T

he Chick-fil-A Foundation continued its philanthropic support for PAGE in 2015 with a $20,000 donation. “We are enormously grateful to Chickfil-A for its continuing commitment to public education, young people and the work of the PAGE Foundation,” says PAGE Foundation President John Varner. “Our 2015 fundraising goal was $200,000, so Chick-fil-A Foundation’s charitable support at this level is sincerely appreciated. This generous donation helps us perpetuate academic and professional programs that serve Georgia students and educators.” As a 501(c)(3) organization, the PAGE Foundation supports PAGE by encouraging charitable gifts that advance the association’s core business and the PAGE n Foundation programs.

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January/February 2016

PAGE ONE  29


2015-2016 PAGE Officers & Board of Directors

Stephanie Davis Howard President

Leslie Mills Past President

Kelli De Guire Secretary

Amy Denty President-Elect

Lamar Scott Treasurer

Allison Scenna District 3

Miranda Willingham District 9

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TBD District 7

7th

Nick Zomer District 5

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Shannon Hammond District 10

11th

Rochelle Lofstrand District 4 (Atlanta City, DeKalb)

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1st Evans

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12th

Amy Denty District 1

2nd

Sem

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Dr. Susan Mullins District 6

8th Donna Graham District 12

Dr. Sandra Owens District 11

Lindsey Martin District 8

Megan King Ex Officio

Dr. Todd Cason District 2

Dr. Hayward Cordy District 13


Call for Nomination of PAGE Officers & Directors PAGE, a democratically run association, encourages members to participate in the election of its officers and directors. Positions are elected by majority vote at the annual PAGE online business meeting in May. The president-elect, secretary and treasurer are elected for one-year terms. Directors serve for three-year terms (on a staggered basis). Only active PAGE members in good standing are eligible to be officers and directors. Directors must have their place of business / office in the district in which they serve.

9th

Nomination deadline: April 1, 2016.

President-Elect

Incumbent: Amy Denty, Wayne County

Ha

be

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am

Nominees are sought for the following positions: 7th

Secretary

Incumbent: Kelli De Guire, Gordon County

3rd

5th

Treasurer

4th

on

ee

10th Mc

Incumbent: Lamar Scott, Elbert County

Clark

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Du

District 2 Director

le da ck Ro

6th

11th

Incumbent: Dr. Todd Cason, Colquitt County (Term expires 6/30/2016)

12th

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13th mery

Incumbent: Allison Scenna, Fulton County (Term expires 6/30/2016)

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1st Evans

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District 3 Director

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District 1 Director Incumbent: Amy Denty, Wayne County (Term expires 6/30/2016)

District 4 Director

Incumbent: Rochelle Lofstrand, Decatur City (Term expires 6/30/2016)

District 7 Director

Sem ino

le

This position is currently unfilled.

2nd

8th

Submit nominations for officers and directors no later than April 1, 2016, via email to amagill@pageinc.org (or via U.S. mail to: Dr. Allene Magill, PAGE Executive Director, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA, 31141). Please include a brief outline of nominee qualifications. The nominating committee meets in April.


2016 PAGE Planner JANUARY 23 PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle

Grades State Championship, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville

FEBRUARY 4 Future Georgia Educators Day, Berry

College, Rome

11 Future Georgia Educators Day,

Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus

16 PAGE and GAEL Day on Capitol Hill, Atlanta

23 Future Georgia Educators Day, University of Georgia, Athens

26-27 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Competition, Berkmar High School, Lilburn

OFFICERS President Stephanie Davis Howard President-Elect Amy Denty Treasurer Lamar Scott Past-President Leslie Mills Secretary Kelli De Guire DIRECTORS District 1 District 8 Amy Denty Lindsey Martin District 2 District 9 Dr. Todd Cason Miranda Willingham District 3 District 10 Allison Scenna Shannon Hammond District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand Dr. Sandra Owens District 5 District 12 Nick Zomer Donna Graham District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Dr. Hayward Cordy District 7 TBA Ex-Officio Megan King

32  PAGE ONE

Volunteers Wanted for Academic Competitions The PAGE Foundation honors outstanding students and teachers and encourages academic excellence through competitive programs such as the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades and PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon. These programs would not be possible without the assistance of many dedicated volunteers. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, visit pagefoundation.org and click the “Academic Bowl” or “GAD” tab.

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, charper@pageinc.org, 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 contribution 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 2015-16 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 ©2016.

January/February 2016


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Profile for PAGE One Magazine

PAGE One Magazine, Jan.-Feb. 2016  

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