PAGE One Magazine, Oct.-Nov. 2014

Page 1

January/February 2014

Hard Fast Lessons A year after the tornadoes, Gordon County tells what it now knows about


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Contents January/February 2014

Vol. 35 No. 3



4  Sonoraville Processes Tornado’s Hard and Fast Lessons



2  From the President We’ve Got Strong Data to Support Our Case; Now Let’s Share It

Legislative Special Report 14  PAGE Legislative Agenda Tackles Class Sizes, Full School Year and Testing

3  From the Executive Director Connecting the Dots: We Must Link Data, Achievement and Legislative Action in 2014

15  Easy-to-Read Reports Detail the Stark Impact of Cuts on Districts 16  Facts + Stories = A Strong Case 17  Bills to Watch in the Current Session


Foundation News 19  SPAGE TLC: Teaching Candidates Learn FirstYear Survival Techniques 20  FEA Conference Engages Students with Technology and Helps Them Avoid a Disastrous First Year 22  Honor Your Favorite Teacher PAGE ONE magazine 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 2014

Technology 24  Easy Tech Tools to Facilitate Meaningful Student Work

News and Information 32  2014 PAGE Planner

Members in the News 26  Calhoun City’s Michele Taylor a National Finalist for Superintendent of the Year 27  NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fuels Graduation Desires of Shaw High Students

January/February 2014

Hard Fast Lessons A year after the tornadoes, Gordon County tells what it now knows about


Xxxxx xx Xxxx xxx Xxxxx Xxxx Xxxx xx Xxxxxxxx Xxxxx xx Xxxx xxx Xxx xx Xxxxx xx Xxxx xxx

On the cover: Sonoraville Middle School


Photo by Dr. Billie Abney

Editorial Staff

New South Publishing

Editor Tim Callahan

President Larry Lebovitz

Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta

Associate Editor Meg Thornton

Publisher John Hanna

Production Coordinator Amber Mosler

Contributing Editor Lynn Varner

Editor Gwyn Herbein

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

Associate Editor Jacqui Frasca


From The President

Dr. Emily Felton

We’ve Got Strong Data to Support Our Case; Now Let’s Share It


eorgia public schools have lost billions of dollars of financial support in education over the past few years. According to a recent report by the Georgia Budget and Policy

Institute, school districts are coping with cuts by shrinking the school calendar, increasing class sizes and furloughing teachers. Specifically, the GBPI finds that 71 percent of school

Teachers must inform policymakers and community members about these burdens and about how the cuts are impacting students.


districts have cut the school calendar from the standard 180 days, almost all school districts (95 percent) have increased class sizes since 2009 and 82 percent of all districts are furloughing teachers this school year. Each time a student is added to a class, there are more papers to grade, more discipline issues, more parents to contact, more emails to answer, more parent conferences to schedule and less time for individual instruction. Furlough days mean that teachers have less time for planning, students have fewer days of instruction and parents must miss work or find and pay for additional childcare. Teachers must inform policymakers and community members about these burdens and about how the cuts are impacting students. Two reports issued by GBPI in 2013 supply us with the information we need to have these critical conversations with everyone who will listen—policymakers, community leaders, parents, business partners, etc. We also need to let community members know what they can do to help. Our citizens must participate in the development of our children; it truly takes a village to raise a child. Mentors are so important, especially for young males. Business involvement is

critical as well. Business support has been invaluable in helping fill some gaps created by funding cuts. As educators, we must also strengthen the bond between teachers and parents. Research shows a strong link between parental involvement and student achievement. We must communicate on a personal level to help parents understand how the funding cuts are impacting their children’s schools. Initiating these conversations may be challenging, but our struggles in recent years and the specific district-by-district data provided in the GBPI reports give us a strong foundation for conversations with our communities. Let’s tell everyone who will listen that taking money away from education is taking money away from investing in our students. After all, teachers still make all other professions possible. Make plans now to join me on Tuesday, Feb. 18, for PAGE Day on Capitol Hill—and be sure to invite your state and local repren sentatives.

January/February 2014

From The Executive Director Connecting the Dots

We Must Link Data, Achievement and Legislative Action in 2014


n a comparison of 65 countries, the Program for International Assessment reports that American students are slipping further behind their peers in reading, math and science. But the PISA comparisons are a bit apple-orange in that our country does not have much in common with the highest-scoring nations in terms of demography, socioeconomics and educational and political systems. For one, we have a tremendous number of children living in poverty, especially in Georgia. Recent reports from the Southern Education Foundation and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute correlate poverty and funding with student achievement. A majority—not just large numbers—of Georgia students now come to us from very low-income homes. These impoverished children enter our schools far behind their more affluent peers. Effects of poverty are visible many years into a child’s school experience, if not for his or her entire life. One report suggests that if our nation’s scores were limited to schools where the poverty level was no higher than 10 percent, we would lead the world on the PISA scores. But we must not see poverty as an excuse. The best educators I have known accept the challenge and work hard to ameliorate poverty’s impact on their students. However, educators cannot do it alone. We need our communities to be aware of the challenges and to be engaged in the solutions. We need policymakers at the state level to connect the dots between youth poverty and low educational achievement. We need to intervene with quality preschool well before these

January/February 2014

Dr. Allene Magill children reach our schools, and we need to invest in health and nutrition, among other services. We have been traveling the state encouraging educators to tell their story to their communities and to their legislative delegations. We are beginning to see some success, but there is so much more to be done. We need to use community conversations to invite more and more individuals and groups into the education process so that they can see for themselves the problems, challenges and opportunities for success that are in every school and every community. In this issue of PAGE ONE, we outline our legislative agenda and show how the past several years of austerity reductions have crippled Georgia’s K–12 education system. The true picture of our state right now is one of serious child poverty, hamstrung school systems and policymakers at the state level who are just beginning to see that, given this scenario, our economic future is seriously compromised. We have participated in and been encouraged by the series of listening sessions conducted across the state by legislative leaders over the summer and fall. We have been proud of those school administrators, teachers and school board members who have stepped up to tell these policymakers with admirable candor how their actions have harmed our schools. With the legislative session just underway and this year being an election year, I hope it is not too much of a stretch for us all to believe that finally legislators too are conn necting the dots.

We need our communities to be aware of the challenges and to be engaged in the solutions. We need policymakers at the state level to connect the dots between youth poverty and low educational achievement.


Emergency Preparedness: A Tornado’s Hard & Fast Lessons

Tornadoes strike Georgia about 30 times each year, usually between noon and 8 p.m. About 10 percent of them bring winds that top 150 mph. On Jan. 30, 2013, a violent F3 tornado ripped through the Gordon County and Calhoun City School districts. It was the sixth time that tornadoes struck the area since 2010. On the one-year anniversary, our Gordon County colleagues recall the experience in their own words and share important lessons they learned about emergency preparedness. 4  PAGE ONE

January/February 2014

Sonoraville Shares Hard Lessons Imparted by a Violent Storm By Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, Sonoraville Elementary School Principal


an. 30, 2013, began like most other school days, except that strong thunderstorms were predicted. Accordingly, I sent a heads-up email to teachers with classrooms on the west side of the building. I also asked the lunchroom manager to prepare sack lunches in case we lost power. With the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, we had been examining our emergency procedures. Just that morning, my secretary, Donna Rickett, asked, “What would we do if we had to do an emergency dismissal?” After our brief exchange, she said, “I think I’ll go ahead and get rosters and sign-out sheets ready.” Little did we know how helpful that would be. A wise principal once told me that “principal school” lacks some essential lessons. We are foremost prepared to be instructional leaders, not emergency managers. When we opened Sonoraville Elementary School in 2009, Richard Cooper, the Gordon County Emergency Management Agency director, walked the building with my team. He immediately saw the vulnerability of our hallway on the west, where winds typically hit hardest.

January/February 2014

Students and teachers on this wing would only have two walls of protection against the elements. He advised that in the case of a combined severe thunderstorm warning and a tornado watch, time permitting, we should move students to the music practice rooms, bathrooms and/or media center resource room. He also recommended that we purchase flashlights for every room. When we conducted our first severe weather drill, Cooper returned to evaluate our procedures. Due to the morning’s ominous weather report, I had asked the west wing teachers to be on standby to evacuate and to have their to-go boxes ready (the boxes, designed to keep students busy in an alternate location, had been created by the teachers in advance). Within two hours, the weather changed so dramatically that I went room to room telling teachers, “Let’s go.” As the last class entered the “safe” hallway, my secretary called on the radio to say that a tornado warning had been issued. We immediately called over the intercom for all students to go to their designated areas. We stayed in the hallway for what seemed an eternity. continued on page 6


for a battery backup on a main computer, intercom system and bus radio. Lesson To facilitate the dismissal of stu-


dents, our front lobby became a makeshift command center. The rosters and sign-out sheets, printed only hours earlier, were stacked on plastic tables along with quickly collected student information cards, pens and Post-it notes. As parents arrived, we verified their identities and wrote the names of their children on the Post-it notes. Non-homeroom personnel, who served as runners, rounded up the children and brought them to the office. This organized system worked well. Lesson Our nurse attended all medical


needs, but we learned that we should have emergency medical bags on every hallway. Since the tornado, we have also reviewed procedures for our children with significant medical needs. Lesson After the storms cleared, bus


drivers began their afternoon routes. But they soon discovered that many roads were impassable and that many subdivisions were cordoned off. Thus, buses filled with students streamed back to campus. We now had additional students to accommodate until parents arrived. Did we have enough food on hand? We learned that in an emergency, your protocols must be fluid and flexible, as well as highly detailed.

“Never think the plan is finished. Continuously ask: ‘What if?’” —Casey Baxter, PE teacher, Sonoraville Elementary


Lesson What none of us knew at the


time was that an F3 tornado was ripping through our community. The destruction blocked the main road and some secondary roads to the Sonoraville campus. We lost electricity and phone communication, but because our radios can communicate among the three schools on the campus, Bruce Potts, Sonoraville High’s principal, kept us informed. We learned that our emergency lights last about 90 minutes; they are designed to evacuate people in smoke and fire, not to sustain light. As the lights dimmed, teachers lit the classrooms, bathrooms and hallways with flashlights. The experience brought to light the need

Lesson Due to the challenges created by


limited communication and loss of power, some of the information passed to our runners, and thus on to parents arriving to pick up their children, was inaccurate. Although our emergency plans are sophisticated, we learned that filtering incoming information during an emergency is challenging. Lesson Prepare for the unknown. Drills


must be practiced with the expectation that situations arise without notice. Do not write the plan and think that it is finished. Review it after emergencies with as many eyes as possible, and continuously ask: “What if?” January/February 2014

Lesson Develop a strong working rela-


tionship among your community leaders, emergency management people, school staff and district personnel. Get to know the people slated to respond so that communications among agencies are in place before a crisis occurs. Lesson I learned that our educators,


cafeteria staff, custodians, secretaries and bus drivers are exceptional—especially in a crisis. Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, I told my teachers that I could close my eyes and go hallway by hallway and picture each of them comforting and loving each of our children just as the educators had in Connecticut. On Jan. 30, 2013, I witnessed my faculty and staff do just that. As the tornado spiraled toward us, everyone was safely huddled in hallways, bathrooms and practice rooms. Adults used their bodies to cover little ones, and they rocked and soothed them as they waited in cramped spaces. Our nurse tended to medical needs in the darkness. A teacher and paraprofessional tested the blood of a diabetic child to ensure his health during the storm. A fourthgrade teacher prayed with her students when they asked what would happen if they died. The heroism did not cease when the storm lifted. Even those who learned that their homes were severely damaged did not ask to leave their students. In the dark and with no mass communication, every adult played an essential role, either by dismissing students or serving lunches or otherwise, until all the students were safely removed from campus. The next day, Sonoraville students joined with adults in lending helping hands and hearts to fellow citizens. Words cannot capture the spirit of Sonoraville Elementary School that day. Now, a year later, our teachers and support personnel continue to assist others in many ways—by cleaning up debris, by offering emotional support and by donating money, resources, food and more. I am one of the luckiest people on earth to n serve as their principal. January/February 2014

“At 7 the next morning, the Sonoraville High School parking lot was filled with people. It’s Gordon County. Everyone has a pick-up truck and a chainsaw. We were ready to work.” —Becky Burch, kindergarten teacher, Fairmount Elementary School


Communication Plans Must Cover a Range of Technology As Well As Emotions By Jason Brock, Sonoraville Middle School assistant principal


ften in an emergency, effective communication determines the outcome. In addition to practicing drills with fidelity, your leadership team must plan for chaos, anxiety and communication outages. When tornados struck our county last January, real-time information sharing across the three schools on the Sonoraville campus navigated us to safety. Richard Cooper, Gordon County’s Emergency Management Agency director, stayed in direct contact with the Sonoraville High School principal, Bruce Potts, who in turn relayed information to the elementary and middle school leadership. In addition to cellphones, we used a dedicated emergency radio frequency to share reports on the front movement, location immediacy, views of the direction of the funnel cloud, etc. Blast emails also helped us reach parents before the communication system overloaded and collapsed. About 10 minutes before the tornado struck, our principal, Allen Bowen, emailed parents that “students are in the hallways as safe as possible and we are following all safety precautions included in our tornado safety guidelines.” His next email, sent 5 minutes later, said, “Students are safe. Please do not leave the safety of your homes to come pick them up. It is unsafe for anyone to be traveling at this time.” At the high school, where students congregated in four safe areas, Principal Potts asked students to let their parents know through an email and/or a text message that the tornado had passed. Well-laid plans must also factor in a range of emotions. In our case, frightened parents arrived at the schools —Jason Brock, assistant to check their children out just as the principal, Sonoraville approaching tornado required us all Middle School to take cover. Parents were invited to come in, but some insisted upon leaving. The message we shared was, “You are safer here than you are on the road, but your student is our responsibility. You cannot take them at this time. Now that you are on our campus, you are also our responsibility.” In subsequent days, several parents apologized for their anxiety and told us n that they appreciated our handling of the situation.

“You run so many drills, but when it really happens, it is important to know this is what you practice for. Today is game day.”


January/February 2014

Citizens’ Response: All Hands on Deck In the immediate aftermath of the level F3 tornado that pounded Gordon County last January, community members instinctively took an all-hands-on-deck approach. They helped identify neighbors with the greatest needs, distributed food and water, organized cleanups, raised donations, coordinated social media messaging and much more. In ensuing days, assistance rolled in from around the state and region. “On day two, we thought the cavalry would arrive, but then I realized I had become the general,” remembers Bruce Potts, principal of Sonoraville High School. Sonoraville High served as the community triage center before being moved a few days later to the Sonoraville Recreation Center. As to a lesson learned, Potts said, “We learned that, when it was necessary to lean upon strengths of the community, citizens rose to the challenge.”

Clips from the Front Line The following brief video excerpts present first-hand accounts of three Gordon County emergency managers and educators in the front lines of the tornado that pounded the community in January 2013. View the videos by scanning the QR codes.

Gordon County Emergency Management Agency Director Richard Cooper: What other school systems can learn from Gordon.

Sonoraville High School Principal Bruce Potts: How the school system created its emergency plan.

“On day two, we thought the cavalry would arrive, but then I realized I had become the general.” —Bruce Potts, principal, Sonoraville High School January/February 2014

Sonoraville Elementary School PE teacher Casey Baxter: Why your emergency plan must improve continually. Watch the entire video “Powerful Tornado No Match for Unified Community.” Scan the QR code or go to www. ?page=903&tab=2&tab=2


Social Media Provides a Critical Line to Parents During an Emergency By Josh Stephens, PAGE Legislative Policy Analyst


martphones and social networking sites are revolutionizing the way in which enterprising schools and response teams are interacting with students, parents and communities at large during emergencies. In fact, alerts sent from the National Weather Service to smartphones are credited for having saved many lives in November when an F4 tornado hit Washington, Ill. When used in tandem, social media and smartphones can provide schools with an immediate and direct line to parents and others, and thus eliminate the confusion sometimes caused by the media as the middleman. In addition to helping schools communicate processes clearly, these technologies can facilitate the work of response teams. A key to using social media effectively during an emergency is to have a feed or site solidly in place in advance of a crisis. There are four stages of emergency management: preparedness, response, recovery and prevention/mitigation. Schools can use social media in all four of these stages.

In 2010, when a winter storm closed Atlanta schools for a week, Fulton County schools’ Facebook page had around 500 followers. But because the system posted up-to-the-minute information, the number of followers grew to 5,000+ by week’s end.


Develop a Social Media Strategy

Your school’s communication plan needs to detail the use of social media. Determine who will serve as the social media administrator, who will approve messages and posts and who will be allowed to contribute information to the site in crisis or non-crisis times. Your team must also decide how to handle feedback on the sites. The policy on comments must clearly tell your social media site visitors when and what comments will be deleted, what personal data will and will not be posted on the sites and what behavior is expected of students and parents on the sites. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s policy states that comments that contain hate speech, profanity, nudity, defamation, name-calling and spam will be deleted.

Become a Trusted Source

Once your social media site is launched and people start following your school’s Twitter feed or start “Liking” the school on Facebook, it is important to regularly post newsworthy and/or interesting information about the school. When parents and students trust that the page will be kept up to date, visitors will know to check your site should an emergency arise. Once a school demonstrates that it uses social media effectively in an alert situation, it typically gains many followers. In 2010, when Atlanta was hit with a major winter storm that closed schools for a week, the Fulton County School System Facebook page had around 500 followers. However, by the end of the week—as more parents and students learned that the system was providing up-to-the-minute information regarding school closings— the system had more than 5,000 followers. Social media can also be instrumental in the recovery phase of an emergency. Schools can post information regarding temporary relocation, crisis counseling, reopening procedures and how the community can assist following an emergency. Posting pictures and information about the recovery effort will also help build a sense of community. n

January/February 2014

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e invite you to view the “The Next PAGE,” a 3–5 minute video that updates you on educational news, professional learning opportunities for current and future Georgia educators and PAGE Foundation academic programs. This timely report also highlights PAGE membership benefits and points you to key sources, such as PAGE ONE magazine and the

PAGE and PAGE Foundation websites. PAGE and the PAGE Foundation have long produced videos about our academic and professional learning programs, weekly legislative reports and breaking news, such as the announcement of the State PAGE STAR Student and STAR Teacher. “The Next PAGE,” which is updated regularly, presents an overview of these PAGE TV full-length video offerings to assist in your viewing choices. Access “The Next PAGE” by going to ?page=891&tab=1 or by scanning this QR code. Currently featured on PAGE TV

•  Powerful Tornado No Match for Unified Community •  2013 FEA Fall Conference •  2013 SPAGE Fall Conference •  Changes to Teacher Certification: An Interview with PSC Executive Secretary Kelly C. Henson

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January/February 2014

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PAGE Special Report 2014 Legislative Session

PAGE Legislative Agenda Tackles Class Sizes, Full School Year and Testing


new session of the Georgia General Assembly began Jan. 13, but as we’re in the second year of our state’s biennial session, bills that failed to pass in 2013 are still in play. Critical education pieces are sure to come to the forefront, including the following: • Legislation regarding Common Core standards •  A bill enabling parents to convert traditional public schools to charter schools • A constitutional amendment allowing elected local school superintendents •  Bills affecting teacher retirement • Legislation allowing the creation of new school systems •  And the single most important education-related bill: the state budget. Armed with the eye-opening Georgia Budget and Policy Institute data (see next page), the PAGE 2014 Legislative Agenda targets three critical areas that policymakers must act upon to stabilize Georgia’s public education system and adequately prepare

students for the 21st century. Reverse Class Size Increases: Provide funding, resources and personnel to reverse the trend of rising class sizes. Smaller class sizes are particularly important in classes comprised of struggling students, in the early grades and in math and science courses. Teachers, parents and students know from experience that smaller classes improve discipline and safety, increase learning opportunities for students and enhance class preparation and management. Restore a Full School Year: Provide funding so that all public school students may attend class at least 180 days each school year. Teachers require an additional 10 days of meaningful professional learning and class preparation. Some Georgia public schools held fewer than 150 class days during the 2012–2013 school year; meanwhile in many foreign countries, students attend school for more than 200 days. How can Georgia students

compete internationally if they lack sufficient class time? Georgia must stabilize its curriculum and provide teachers with adequate time for student preparation and professional development. Review Testing Policies: Call upon the State School Superintendent and the State Board of Education to review Georgia’s testing program. State leaders should consider adopting annual norm-referenced tests that measure true student learning. Such tests will serve as better diagnostic tools and allow comparison of Georgia’s students with students nationwide. Georgia’s testing program takes too much time away from student learning, causes excessive stress for many students, lacks timely information to allow teachers to adjust what and how they teach, does not measure the progress of Georgia students against a national standard and makes a poor criterion for a pay-for-performance system. It is time to develop a smarter testn ing program.

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Feb. 18 • Breakfast at the Capitol • Meetings and Lunch with Legislators Register now at


January/February 2014

Easy-to-Read Reports Detail the Stark Impact of Cuts on Districts


tate budget reductions continue to drive painful cuts at the local school district level. Because Georgia’s public education system is funded by a combination of state, local and federal money, it can be hard to understand the education budget and the impact of state cuts. Two recent reports by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, which is available at www., paint a clear picture. They are essential reading in preparing for the 2014 Legislative Session and beyond. GBPI’s “Schoolhouse Squeeze” details how Georgia’s school districts are struggling against a relentless financial squeeze. State policymakers have cut billions in funding for public schools in recent years: Per-pupil state funding has dropped an average of 15.3 percent over the past 12 years in inflationadjusted dollars. During that same time, plunging property values have driven down property tax revenue, the main source of

local school funding. Meanwhile, the number of low-income students has soared, putting additional demands on schools. In its “Cutting Class to Make Ends Meet” report, GPBI surveyed Georgia school districts for specifics on cuts necessitated by state funding reductions. Respondents comprised 140 school districts representing 92.8 percent of Georgia’s public school students. The findings show schools at a tipping point. • 71 percent of districts have cut the academic year • 95 percent of districts have increased class size since 2009 • 80 percent of districts will furlough teachers during this school year •  42 percent of districts have cut or eliminated art and music programs •  62 percent have eliminated electives and •  38 percent have cut programs aimed at n assisting low-performing students.

Number of Districts FY 2009

Number of Districts FY 2013

180+ days



175-179 days



170-174 days



160-169 days



<160 days



Length of School Calendar

Number of Furlough Days

Number of Districts

















District Name

% Change State Revenue per FTE 2002-2014


Greene County






Quitman County






Dublin City




Baker County




Towns County




Rabun County




Fannin County




Putnam County




Glynn County




Randolph County




Baldwin County




Vidalia County




Talbot County




Stewart County




Hancock County




Miller County




McIntosh County




Meriwether County




Warren County




Bulloch County



January/February 2014

% Free and Reduced Lunch

Furlough days, increased local taxes, dangerously low fund balance, frozen salaries for everyone except state salary professionals, deferred maintenance, aging bus fleet, larger class sizes, longer school day, understaffed school administration, staff development at low ebb, outsourced custodial staff — the list goes on! Pike County


2014 Legislative Session

Facts + Stories = A Strong Case The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute reports feature easyto-understand appendixes that allow you to see state funding reductions, dropping property values and school cuts at your local level. Educators, parents and local business leaders can use the GBPI data and personal stories to powerfully communicate with each other, with state policymakers and with candidates seeking elected offices. Douglas County Schools Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz, for example, gleaned local data from the GBPI reports to make a strong case about school funding cuts to the local media. The Douglas County Sentinel, in turn, published a Nov. 19, 2013, front-page article titled “School system could face $13.8M shortfall next year.” Drawing from the reports, the article stated, “the Legislature has underfunded schools every year since 2003. Douglas County Schools have been shorted $113.6 million over that 10-year stretch.” According to Pritz, the GBPI reports hit the nail on the head when it comes to demonstrating the impact of funding cuts. When Georgia House and Senate Education committee members held legislative listening sessions across the state in fall 2013, PAGE shared the GBPI data with legislators. Moreover, local educators and school board members combined regionspecific GBPI data with stories about the impact of cuts on their schools. Educators painted a picture of school communities rising to serve the needs of students in the face of budget challenges. It is our hope that these stories will compel legislators to rethink maintaining state budget reductions. Public education advocates must continue to share such stories with state policymakers and encourage reversal of harmful funding reductions. PAGE encourages all of you to discuss the 2014 agenda and share your school and district’s personal stories with legislators at PAGE Day on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Feb. — Douglas County Schools 18. The event kicks off with Superintendent breakfast at the state capitol, Dr. Gordon Pritz followed by meetings with key legislators. Later in the day, you will meet with your district’s House and Senate members and have lunch with them at the “Top of the Slop” in the Sloppy Floyd building, across the street from the capitol. Some may stand to gain by painting a picture of Georgia’s public school system as a failing endeavor. These grim portraits are a disservice to educators and the students they serve. Instead of allowing others to do it for them, supporters of public education must tell our own stories. These stories are those of school success and student progress in the face of increasing challenges. As the 2014 legislative session progresses and the upcoming election season nears, sharing these stories is more important than ever.

The GBPI reports hit the nail on the head when it comes to demonstrating the impact of funding cuts.


Fact t Sheen

Schools eorgia. Georgia tion in G ould likely t r u ing trac w H ld are gain come tax cuts u s o xe ta W deep in er sales sals o p ith high ents because o w r P em ts, ud e th ift ol distric Tax Sh arpe, Policy Analyst come taxes and reildplreacn and univerinsityrecest nt years. cal scho e taxes m on for lo

lli ley Th hoolch acted state in $7.4 bi corporate inco replace the by Wes abolish rm Georgia’s sc ose already en d proved th s could onal an ly cut or ha akers ap drastical s threaten to cuts, on top of e lawm dget year. Pers gher sales taxe passed in North at to st s ia an an et hi rg bu Pl dg ntly oks, 14 ift pl Geo say bu . ce n 20 sh e ts re io x e at at ta cu th st an r textbo sl These w rounds of funding cal colleges in tax shift legi e. A tax shift pl ng funding fo ne is ucation s of ashi chni lead to ad to ed million for te nue. Supporter es says otherw s there are sl le ld u er at 06 co reve r st mak s and $3 tax cuts total tax ence from othe emented. law income for universitie lf of Georgia’s pl id result. fully im , but ev llion $1.9 bi r more than ha come tax cuts per year once iversities as a Schools fo in un n t ts Public accoun st from deep an $700 millio for the state’s eorgia d by State Cu acteristics G lo t th e or e nu pp or ve m su re te d char p cuts. will cost ades an Decima districts with select by dee d carolina in the lower gr ze ee u -12 eyed 95% of surv ready sq derfunding K pposed teachers Share un n are al childre are currently makers are su s w n school Public ate lawmaker r year. State la asic Educatio l 0% % 10 80 st yb pe ve Georgia by $1 billion ugh the Qualit as district-le n ia has ro ors such e. Georg educatio 2 schools th 71% 80% 2014 ghts fact ty tax revenu a total of K-1 R ei w E nd fu ch er M hi to by op PRI hs and e 2002 rmula, w local pr (QbE) fo rollment and n formula sinc teacher furloug e-K DGET en atio ’s pr zes, I A 60B% U student G ia this educ larger class si ort for Georgia E GOeoR rg d de un 0 in 00 underf sulting ars. State supp 09. About 8,G 42% 40% llion, re $7.6 bi school calend ent since 20 program. rc d K In shortene has fallen 22 pe t for the preof t C ou g lis hing 20% Furloug rs cation n program e on a waitin ol Teache ge edu io ar g Scho ar Cuttin This Ye to ing colle r higher educat r families tt u lendar ys p or Ca t g & 0 Da dget ed fo g fo ppor 0% Reducin g Art st in bu low 18 su a ju Be nd e gi tin s, ad fu na at or , Elimi 01 urse ent g st t,” Ge sic or Mu ds Mee Declinin rgia’s per stud $11,278 in 20 eliminating co ls. ake En by om Geo leve ass to M 2013 fr reach. the cuts ever-higher utting cl ,777 in responded to to ed urce: “c ar $4 on So so iti to s ll tu s fe tie g College d raisin universi would ic e inflation. class sizes an rgia four-year me tax cuts raise ing publ e ng eo t to fund m ility to stic inco increasi e tuition at G mitmen a better inco 13. Dra g Georgia’s ab m 20 ag co er to er rn ld ng ea The av t from 2008 erodin ion. ion shou ance to ith a stro further en at tates w orkers the ch g public educat kless inc S 63 perc ese trends by t higher educ y. onom ed w ovin . rec or th rgia’s ec ve well-educat onals say impr recent survey lt will be a worsen eded to supp eo G a en ne elfresu hich gi weak professi according to revenue need would oyers, w pment , n .hThrtaun es they thdiang unode ucation gh-wage empl onomic develo the long-term ars ofm rerfun po iti ye for w ering ed ec for t hi by ts ith the op ed n f u ez s Endang able to attrac e than half of e’s economy y sque o o te n c ua o c r or stat billi 014 a ide grad alread are bette ality of life. M rengthen the up $7.4 schooolnsin 2 and prov qu st edrguiacatiw businesses tion make a higher rity in order to magegtoinGeo io ture.” evda estiodn jobs, attract nnedary educa ’s ia No. 1 pr ct eviaenismor in rg Fu o en Geo d go ounldGinefliorg nd sec w a s Threat ty to ad tary ili an o li ab Pl y. il d ft hi .7 b diminishe s. Eseledmeceonnom t , “Tax S | www. The $9 ha ll report enlesdgee-ba 0.1329 ns of w xpow bPi’s fu 404.42 te ekn ndatiniogn .download blG E Po li cy : 404.420.1324 it| Fasx:expectatio Prefu ly of all sta n o ti cr amore inform iS , rE SP oN Si , GA 30303 | Ph even as ing for dispropogrteiosnate u d d n e fu ’s t u g Fo c beal colle in AlyS s Atlanta ll ill AN a 0, w fa h ul 95 Georgia s is TF ite re ic itie n tu h un la c m Th ou Gh od Avenue, Su students is te m g f ral co for gewo e Le its 100 Ed ean sruwell as l role o ears thcountiesom tment in ssentia l g. For y h ols a ’s inves g the e —have in dary sc y are risins in Georgsiaec’sorunra iz h m n Georgia s o g li n o p o m te nd —rec rgia ec t verty ra ill accoigher pole ntary a leaders to mee ng Geo they w h and e me e, state harder r a stro

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e tim foste ill be arten at will the sam goals w Kinderg force th Those ities. At . rk rs o ls e e w v iv a n . le g es all and u evelopin d colleg ents at on in d ools an for stud Policcyountability educati -K, sch s goals re u P io in it ac b m nts te a e t ta u s tm o s e e R’sept poerrftormance in th laid inv r under itional n a d e e d d y a t tu h s c u s of e ea . witho ctation oals ris ndards ment g its expe nce Sta ing up achieve rforma p e t P n m e ra ia d is , stu eorg e eorgia Core G In K-12 of stud ition, G ommon umber . In add e the n ege er the C s ll d a o n system C u re c h te lis ple tly in nd Eng nifican it the Com math a univers ts to sig ined in te wan as outl es and g ta e e s ll re e o g c e ew d s , th n d n a o n is r ti o h fu a T t c y. tha rtificate er edu of stud system In high icy Analipyslotma, a ce grams 2015, ng to a Pol a d their pro ningarins by o shifti h in ls g is cahtioonearn a e u n d B fi is E . w o r g recent ye on gthoaels, h io . It in e w en d v S n ti ts s, n fu ia g ti e in d ts gradisutraicts by init and e Sug er of stu llmenstt ate fundinegy cu By Clair Georgia eet ool d n enro e numb thrveymof schrovide a quality e ith hen su e th w g n tw o in e p w b co nding new k to p e n A li g ar st state based s. e lin ts er g ic rug rs of lo ds th l distrdditioghninagl fu teach state st of dolla ach genpoint. Schcoo w esivanedafurlou throughout thesate for billions appro pin willsre ssen p ze ti si s a Overvie t en els is e are astituea tionnsg clas scheoo comp l system t all lev a schools din s as s. rly all ways to incr si I) fincdre s , lic b ie ar 0 u d p n 02 an le ’s BP in sted nea stu itutem(Gent Georgia the school ca y Inest dy by 2 darr te their ic nroll ng exhau ng dary stu comple stTan n hat d o e n c shrinki udget and Pol children, havi . th a e d n ts an os B more ’s werdethma feis toth quire p Georgia to the state ts learn on nlenmdearet te will re e scthhaoot lcca rs of bu a studen a ta e g s y educati support. in e r e lp th ft . t th e He al velop jobs in have orkcuforc nce 2009 e today a financi ndings: t of all sional de rinrvgeya wclass sidzeucsiators hav theesu r profes ’s key fi percen dfrinogmtooff increased fe e survey on nding fo w e fu sp y th a re n g ng ve g w ts a hi in h ic g Amon iminati are slas of disatrlon istricts ometh nt are el ercent is percent of dfunding, s majority 62 perce g students. -one p 5 quate ar. The ty d 9 ye en an an is s ev th th in m ade • S erform achers progra s. More


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te -p c or musi that help low furlough ight d s ting art ricts will Thirty-e ses elimina k on program t of dist or en 2009. g n rc n ci ac du ty pe gb than in eased expe re in gh e tt w Ei o ar cu n • tricts ation nt are of incr nt of dis an 38 perce ansport al pressure ce tr er n p o th re nci out 42 More t or mo ed fina • Ab ve courses. lost percen t the combin ts. The electi se ding 40 studen to succee re spen ast year to off a tion to ts ic ep l atten for students t attrac distr a th u ve in id -fi iv s te no irty ind ces • Th d local tax ra to give rt chan a t does achers will likely hu workforce th raise cuts. s e for te a udget less tim icular activitie ence may be m within. state b in lt i u o ely resu xtracurr d is a d conseq grow them fr s will lik demic and e eorgia, the ons an G ility to change ’ decisi These p through aca rkforce. For iminished ab districts ve set. g in p o d lo a a w h sh to deve n and in the nd is left with leaders nding is c o a “The S state fu on goals state educati e industries iece to ti indling ag for dw dary gradua anion p cuts in state p te m high-w sa co n a nt con is ce mpe se It re co . st f g o o to s us p fundin strain expense ambitio in state e combined Cutting meeting the th e cuts n s of th at assesses focus o th equence oss. 180 day

Bills to Watch in the Current Session The following education-related bills and proposed constitutional amendments gained momentum in 2013 and are sure to garner debate in the 2014 Georgia legislative session, which began in January. Parent Trigger

House Bill 123, sponsored by Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta), is commonly referred to as the “Parent Trigger Act,” although in early drafts it was officially titled the “Parent and Educator Empowerment Act.” In its original form, the legislation allowed parents and teachers to petition their local boards of education to convert traditional public schools to charter status. The current version of the legislation allows parents (but not teachers) to petition local boards to convert traditional public schools to charter status. The legislation moved quickly through the House but stalled in the Senate after the bill was renamed the “Parent Empowerment Act” and teachers were stripped of the power to petition for charter status.

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Flexibility from Education Laws

Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), chair of the House Education Committee, sponsored House Bill 327, frequently called the “Flexibility & Accountability Bill.” The legislation seeks to give local school systems, in correlation with systems’ scores on Georgia’s College and Career Readiness Performance Index, the ability to waive many Georgia education laws. Some of the provisions up for waiver include spending mandates, class size caps, teacher certification requirements and the state salary scale. Due to a deadline in existing law, some version of HB 327 or similar legislation must pass in 2014 in order to meet the looming 2015 date by which all Georgia school districts must declare themselves as status quo, charter systems, or IE2 systems.

Freedom Week

Senate Bill 68, the “Celebrate Freedom Week Bill,” sponsored by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), mandates that K–12 schools use the week of Sept. 17 to educate

students about the “sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values, principles and philosophies on which this country was founded,” and provide approximately three hours of related instruction. This instruction must include an age-appropriate study of the intent, meaning and importance of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights in their historical context and background on the Colonial era along with instruction about the Founding Fathers. SB 68 dictates that the religious references in the writings of the Founding Fathers shall not be censored and directs schools to suggest related reading for students in grades 3–12. Those students will be encouraged to recite from the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the 14th or 19th Amendments. Firearms

Senate Bill 101 by Sen. Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville); House Bill 35 by Rep. continued on page 18

Use of School Equipment 13

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Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming) introduced House Bill 228, which bars public employees, including educators, from using publicly owned computers, email accounts, printers or phones to oppose or promote the passage of legislation. One version of the legislation directs that educators or others found in violation of this rule be charged criminally. Another provision of the bill mandates that parent and student email addresses be used only for schoolrelated functions and not for the purposes of promoting or opposing legislation.

Think again.

Retiree Health Benefits

House Bill 263, sponsored by Rep. Chuck Martin (R-Alpharetta), quickly generated a great deal of discussion and ixty ntial. S ia rg o communication among educators in 2013. e nd G s rd The bill would force retiring educators and require uts. udget c other state employees to pick up the entire pment. cost of their state health insurance. When ng the legislation was heard in committee, rg .gbpi.oclarified his intention that the legMartin | www ts 23 distric p e e d d n islation only apply to educators hired after a July 2013. Still, the concept was unaty it un opport er h tractive to House Retirement Committee ig ed in h wth, -gro ct high members, who declined to move the bill a forward last session. m o ction fr


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2014 Legislative Session Paul Battles (R-Cartersville); and House Bill 512 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) were rolled into one omnibus gun bill with a provision impacting K–12 schools. The legislation would give local boards of education authority to designate trained school employees to carry firearms at school. Employees could not be forced to carry firearms, and a hold harmless provision is intended to protect school systems from liability for adopting or declining to adopt such a policy. Other controversial portions of the omni-

bus bill allowed firearms to be carried in bars, churches and some government buildings. The point of contention that ultimately stalled the bill in 2013 was a provision allowing firearms on college campuses.

167 would allow Georgia to opt out of the Common Core, and SB 203 would convene the Curriculum Content Standards Advisory Council.

Common Core

Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) in 2013 sponsored a constitutional amendment that continues to attract the attention of many Georgia educators, particularly school superintendents. House Resolution 550 would allow local school systems to return to the method of electing their school superintendents.

Senate Bill 167 and Senate Bill 203, both sponsored by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick), represent significant skepticism about Georgia’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards. SB

Elected Superintendents

Additional School Systems

Another proposed state constitutional amendment, House Resolution 486, sponsored by Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody), seeks to allow for the creation of additional local school systems. The following bills have been prefiled by legislators since mid-November 2013 in anticipation of the 2014 session. In January, when the Georgia General Assembly convened, the legislation was assigned to committee.

Parental School Visitation

House Bill 698 by Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) directs local boards of education to establish procedures regarding the ban of a parent or guardian from a school premises when the parent has violated state law or school policy. The legislation would allow such a parent to request a hearing before a panel, which will include an independent person not employed by the school.

Traditional Winter Celebrations

Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) has proposed Senate Bill 283, which allows school districts to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allows school staff to offer traditional greetings regarding those celebrations such as “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukah” and “Happy Holidays.” SB 283 also enables schools to display scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter holiday celebrations, such as menorahs, nativity scenes, Christmas trees or other Christmas images, so long as the display includes a symbol of more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol. The bill states that any such display will not include a message encouraging adherence to a particular relin gious belief.


January/February 2014

Foundation News

SPAGE: Teaching Candidates Learn FirstYear Survival Techniques


he 2013 SPAGE Fall Conference, entitled “Teaching, Learning, Collaborating: First Year Survival,” provided teaching candidates with the tools to sustain them in their first year of teaching, and it even offered advice for landing that first job. The conference was held in November at Middle Georgia State College in Macon. In his morning keynote, Dr. Richard Rogers, principal of Matt Arthur Novice teacher panel moderator Dr. Richard Rogers (far left) is joined by Elementary in Houston County, cov- panelists (left to right) Robin Wood, Christina Hanselman, Christopher ered “What Principals Seek in Teacher Henderson, Tyler Hudlin, Michael Register and Doretha Calhoun. Candidates.” In addition to passion and good character, he said that principals seek candidates who are Mixed-Ability Students? willing to think outside the box, who are knowledgeable about • Using Technology to Steer Clear of Stress During Your current issues and who are lifelong learners. They must also be Rookie Year committed to making every child successful … and be willing •  Creating Powerful Parental Partnerships. to smile, he noted. The lunch keynote featured the new national director of the Additionally, a panel of novice teachers offered advice and Future Educators Association, Dan Brown, who shared his answered questions posed by SPAGE members. The panel, experiences as a first-year teacher at a Bronx elementary school moderated by Rogers, was comprised of Chris Henderson, (see FEA article, page 20). Tyler Hudlin, Michael Register, Christina Hanselman, Doretha The day’s workshops, presented by the MGSC College of Calhoun and Robin Wood. Several veteran teachers commented Education, included: on how valuable such a panel discussion would have been to •  Networking and Interviewing: The Secrets to Earning Your them prior to their first year of teaching. First Teaching Job! The annual SPAGE conference was host• Designing Engaging Instruction for Middle and High ed by the PAGE Foundation and the MGSC School Students College School of Education. A video report • Engaging Students with Technology Bring Your Own of the conference can be found on the Device (BYOD) SPAGE Spotlight channel on PAGE TV at •  Why Am I Here? or by scanning the n •  How Do I Differentiate My Earth Science Lesson for My QR code.

Dr. Richard Rogers: Principals seek ‘lifelong learners’. January/February 2014

Conference planners , from left, Nancy Greene and Dr. Elise Langan joined state SPAGE officers Suzi Hancock, Maxine Dalton, Amy Walls, Erika Wyatt, Jackie Anderson and SPAGE Director Mary Ruth Ray. PAGE ONE  19

Foundation News

FEA Conference Engages Students with Technology and Helps Them Avoid a Disastrous First Year


early 200 Future Educators of Georgia members descended upon Middle Georgia State College in November to learn how to avoid a disastrous first year of teaching, to be inspired by the technological prowess of Georgia’s Teacher of the Year and to immerse themselves in a host of workshops. The FEA Fall Conference was themed “Dive into Teaching!” Dan Brown, the new national FEA director, relayed his experiences as a first-year teacher in the Bronx. “It was the most exciting year of my life because I discovered my passion, but it was also a total disaster because I was unprepared,” he said. Brown then went to graduate school and immersed himself in student teaching. “I then had sort of a second first year, which was monumentally better.” Brown also announced that FEA national is building an online universe to supplement the chapter experience. Through the new website, FEA students will be able to “document accomplishments, network and leverage technology for all sorts of professional learning and growing,” Brown told PAGE. In delivering the keynote address, Jemelleh Coes, the 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year, used technology and the audience members’ cellphones to demonstrate a bring-your-own-device strategy of engaging students in lessons. Conference workshops, presented by the MGSC School of

Education, addressed literacy, cyberbullying, classroom management, learning styles and more. Attendees were also treated to “FEA Moments,” whereby students shared the moment in which he or she chose teaching for a career. Donlane Parrish from Metter High School in east central Georgia said that her FEA club’s visit to a one-room schoolhouse built in the 1800s in Statesboro solidified her decision. Chandler Sumner from Early County High School in southwest Georgia said that attending FEAST with his parents, who are both FEAST advisors, as a high school freshman convinced him to pursue teaching. Lastly, the future educators met with representatives from more than 25 Georgia colleges to discuss teacher preparation programs. FEA state officers presiding over the morning session included Tyrea Hall, Howard High School in Bibb County, Jordon Baker, Camden County High School, and Caroline Pope, Early County High School. The PAGE Foundation thanks Nancy Greene and her MGSC colleagues. Their time and talent made the FEA Fall Conference one of the best ever. To see a video report of this event, visit the FEA Today channel on PAGE TV at, n or scan the QR code.

(l-r) Dan Brown, Jordon Baker, Mary Ruth Ray and Caroline Pope


January/February 2014

Teacher of the Year Jemelleh Coes used audience cellphones to demonstrate a bring-yourown-device strategy of engaging students.

Tyrea Hall (left) and Donlane Parrish address conference participants.

FEA students work in breakout sessions.

T-shirt competition design winners from Bibb County’s Howard High School

2013 FEA Competition Winners Brochure Competition Winner: Fannin County High School Runner-up: Lee County High School

January/February 2014

T-shirt Design Competition Winner: Howard High School Runner-up: Fannin County High School

Banner Competition Winner: Pike County High School Runner-up: Howard High School


Honor Your Favorite Teacher Nationally Acclaimed Coach Taught Students That ‘Everything Communicates’ By Paul Bowers, Georgia Power president and CEO and 2013 A PAGE Turning Event Honoree


uring my years in the public school system in Pensacola, Fla., I was fortunate to have been introduced to educators who taught as well as inspired. My English, math and science teachers not only taught me the fundamentals of those subjects, but they lit in me a fire for learning that continues to this day. These teachers built a foundation for learning and they inspired me to believe that I could accomplish anything. The educator who most influenced my life was Coach Carl Madison, a Hall of Fame high school football coach whose teams won several state championships. The former national High School Coach of the Year is an iconic figure who has touched thousands of lives. Coach Madison expected perfection in all aspects of life—in the classroom, on the field and in your conduct. As I look back now, I realize that Coach Madison taught us more than the fundamentals of football. He taught us the fundamentals of how to be successful in life. The idea of “everything communicates” came from my three years on his team. Coach Madison taught his young athletes that the way you conduct yourself both on and off the field communicates a lot about yourself. Coach Madison instilled in his players that it wasn’t good enough to be satisfied with being “average.” To him, average was another Carl Madison and Paul Bowers word for “mediocre.” And if you were happy being mediocre, you wouldn’t be playing very long for Coach Madison. The state titles that his teams won are a great accomplishment, but Coach Madison’s greatest and most lasting accomplishment is the molding of hundreds of boys who grew into men—men who are now winning at the game of life. Great coaches are also great teachers. Coach Madison was a teacher and a true educator. He n made an indelible mark on all of us who were fortunate enough to call him “Coach.”


January/February 2014

Foundation Volunteers Needed for a Fun Event! The PAGE Foundation sponsors several programs that promote academic excellence among Georgia students and teachers, including the PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD), the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades and PAGE Foundation Scholarships for current and future teachers. These programs would not be possible without the assistance of many dedicated volunteers.

PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Competition Feb. 21-22, 2014 Volunteers are needed to serve as judges for the Speech and Interview competitions. Volunteers are also needed to serve as proctors for Testing and Super Quiz. Judges serve in groups of two or three for Speech and Interview presentations. Proctors work with a student assistant in a testing homeroom of 19 or more students. Super Quiz proctors monitor individual student responses during the course of the Super Quiz

January/February 2014

Oral Relay. A judges’ training session is conducted prior to the competition. Volunteers can choose to help out on Friday, Saturday or both days. Friday’s session lasts from 3:45-9:30 p.m. Saturday’s session begins at 7:30 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m., with Super Quiz proctors on site from noon until 3 p.m. Please visit and click “Volunteer Information.”



teach 21st-century learners collaborate


This is the first of a regular column in PAGE ONE featuring technology-in-the-classroom advice from tech-savvy Georgia educators.

Technology in the Classroom:

Easy Tech Tools to Facilitate Meaningful Student Work


Megan King, a Spanish teacher at Houston County High School (Warner Robins), is passionate about engaging communities as well as students. King represents the PAGE Teacher Academy on the PAGE Board of Directors and she has presented at PAGE, SPAGE and FEA conferences. You can follow her on Twitter @profeking. 24  PAGE ONE

eaningful work is the key to student engagement. Our students have ever-advancing devices that instantly connect them with people and information. Therefore, the work we design must honor their lifestyle of efficiency and connectivity, as well as their intelligence. By designing work in line with the way students use technology, we build relationships that bridge the gap between accessing information and mastering new skills. Here are a few easy-to-use technologies that powerfully facilitate student work, feedback and assessment: Polleverywhere and Socrative enable you to broadcast closed- or open-ended questions for immediate feedback on student mastery. These websites are great for students with limited data access because students can respond via text message. Try using open-response questions as writing prompts or topic lead-ins. Quia and Quizlet allow you to build and share online games and quizzes specific to unit content. Quia can even auto-grade your quizzes in real time. Mobile friendly Quizlet gives students many ways to manipulate and master content. QR codes from easy generators such as give students quick links to websites, documents or even text. With Remind101, teachers can send text messages to distribution lists. You can broadcast homework reminders, study links or “don’t forget to bring” requests. It’s easy for students and parents to sign up. Put Your Heads in the Cloud

Encourage students and colleagues to the move to the cloud for collaboration and storage. Using the cloud simply means that you create and save files through the Internet instead

of from a computer. Creating a spreadsheet in Google Docs or a presentation in Prezi, for example, is cloud-based work because it can be accessed from any Internet-ready device. Cloud-based tools such as Wikis or DropBox make easy work of distributing assignments and collaborating. Many of these tools also track user access and modifications, helping to keep students accountable. Broaden the Audience

Widening the audience is a great way to relate content to students. When you provide content as part of social networks used by students, the content’s value can grow exponentially. Real-time online communications sites such as TodaysMeet and Twitter make it super easy to provide students with an audience to expand on classroom conversations. Sites such as, or give you a safe way to instantly affirm student work through commenting. Students can create a blog to track current events, document research, journal or invent characters. Fellow students can be the audience. Educators, of course, must always be mindful of student age groups as well as district and site policies designed for student safety. can help you and your students make good decisions for learning and creating in the digital world.

The Power of Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling is a terrific way for students to create personal or content-based stories. This median can be especially appealing to kids who love art or to those struggling with written literacy. Digital media enables us to “unfold a highly January/February 2014

sensory experience that dances a narrative voice with images, sound and music into illuminated understandings,” states creative educator Bernajean Porter in “The Art of Storytelling.” Renowned educator and digital coach Jason Ohler says, “There is no better way to ‘pull back the curtain and expose the wizard of technology Oz’ than to have students create their own media.” Many students have never been challenged to create a movie or produce a digital story that serves to educate others. Doing so enables students to become valuable contributors to a classroom community. or offer easy-to-navigate, multidevice friendly pages that enable younger children to create digital narratives individually or collaboratively. Apps such as ToonDoo, GoAnimate or DoInk have playful tools that incorporate animations. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated product, try or What new thing will you do today to open your students’ eyes to a n whole new world of learning?

Do you have a brief classroom-related technology tip to share with your peers? Email and tell us about a helpful tool, site or technique you use and why. We’ll publish tips on our website and feature some in PAGE ONE. Be sure to include your name, what you teach and your school.

Wikis in the Classroom Classroom Instruction

TeacherCreated Online Content


StudentCreated Online Content

Cooperative Learning


noun: wiki; plural noun: wikis 1. a website that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users.

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January/February 2014


Members in the News Calhoun City’s Michele Taylor a National Finalist for Superintendent of the Year Dr. Michele Taylor of Calhoun City Schools in northwest Georgia is one of four finalists for the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year. In December, Taylor was named the 2014 Georgia Superintendent of the Year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association. The three other finalists for the Georgia honor were Buster Evans of Forsyth County Schools, Phillip Lanoue of Clarke County and Matt Arthur of Rabun County. The winner of the national competition will be announced during the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education to be held Feb. 13-15 in Nashville, Tenn. The other three national finalists are from Florida, Maryland and Texas. Under Taylor’s guidance, over the past six years, the Calhoun City Schools system has experienced increased academic achievement. At 94 percent, the system has the third highest graduation rate in Georgia. It was 67 percent in 2003. The system was also among the first to earn SACS District Accreditation as System Charter status. Calhoun, like other systems throughout the state, has experienced an unprecedented loss of state funding in recent years, but it has gained strong financial footing. The system had the fifth lowest per-student expenditure in Georgia last year. “Dr. Taylor has built a strong leadership team trained on how to maximize funding to support student learning,” said Calhoun City Schools Board Chair Amy Atkinson. A Practical Dreamer

Taylor dreams big dreams and then finds ways to make those dreams a reality. In 2013 she and her team opened the new 1 7 0 , 0 0 0 - s q u a re foot Calhoun High School physical plant after an arduous campaign to secure funding and earn state approval to keep the high school in its existing location. An adjacent middle school complex is under construction. The multiphase project was financed by a sales tax referendum that Taylor helped sell. The system also just launched an online learning academy for

At 94 percent, the system has the third highest graduation rate in Georgia. It was 67 percent in 2003.


students in grades 6–12. Over the past six years, Calhoun City Schools has earned numerous region and state academic, arts and athletic competitions. All schools have earned Distinguished Title I Schools recognition, a National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Award, Governor’s Platinum Awards and AP Honor and Merit School awards. Calhoun High School has been named to U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Schools” list for the past five years. Taylor credits the community for believing in and supporting the local schools, as evidenced by the 100 percent participation rate for recent parentteacher conferences. She also credits the students. When her selection as a finalist required her to submit supporting documentation, she turned to the high school’s broadcast video department. The professionalism of the students was striking. “They even had me bring several changes of clothing as we traveled to each filming location,” Taylor told Chattanooga’s Times Free Press newspaper. “That’s how detailed and organized they were.” A Hometown Product

Michele Williams Taylor is a hometown product. She is a graduate of Calhoun High School and a former classroom teacher and principal. Her career is laden with awards. She was Teacher of the Year in 1996 and was Gordon County’s Young Careerist of the Year in 1997. She earned the Distinguished Kiwanis President Award in 2003 and received an Educational Celebrity Award from Georgia’s Leadership Institute for School Improvement in 2004. “Her energy and enthusiasm seem limitless and infectious,” said Atkinson said. “She makes learning personal by getting to know the students by name and sending encouraging notes to recognize their achievements.” A member of Alpha Delta Kappa, Taylor has served in leadership roles with Georgia’s Leadership Institute for School Improvement, the State School Superintendent’s Advisory Council, the local chamber of commerce, Kiwanis Club, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the arts council. She currently chairs the steering committee of Leadership Calhoun/Gordon County, is on the steering committee of Georgia’s Visioning Project and serves on the PAGE Foundation board of trustees. This year, she will chair Northwest Georgia RESA’s Board of Control. Taylor and her husband Joe have two children, Joseph and Anna, n who are both students at Calhoun Middle School. January/February 2014

NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fuels Graduation Desires of Shaw High Students Early in the school year, a national icon revved up the desire of students of W.H. Shaw High School in Columbus to complete their schooling. NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr., made a pit stop there to promote a different kind of race: Shaw’s “Race to the Stage” graduation program. Earnhardt, accompanied by National Guard soldiers, told the student body, “To be successful, you must demonstrate that you are serious about your goals. Anything less than your best effort is like taking horsepower off of a race car.” Earnhardt also met with 100 students who won an essay contest and he provided an interview to mass communications students. Shaw’s four-year “Race to Graduate” program helps students visualize and internalize how their educational choices will impact their future. A “No Empty Seats” event for seniors uses facts to create a tangible image of how academic performance prevented previous students from graduating. In a ceremony for juniors, parents present class rings that symbolize each student’s journey to reaching personal academic goals. Shaw’s “Line of Life” program, which is directed at sophomores, uses a measuring tape to depict the short amount of time spent in high school compared to one’s entire life.

As freshmen, Shaw students sign commitment contracts and see copies of their future diplomas. The R2G program earned a 2012 Education Project of the Year award from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. An event celebrating the program drew a who’s who list of area dignitaries, including two-star Major Gen. Jim Butterworth, who heads the Georgia National Guard; U.S. Congressman Sanford D. Bishop Jr.; Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson; Muscogee County Public Schools Superintendent David Lewis; his predecessor Dr. John Phillips; and school board members Beth Harris and Mark Cantrell. Representatives from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the school’s Partners in Education attended as well. Shaw students were heavily involved in organizing the events surrounding Earnhardt’s visit. It’s not unusual for them to be engaged in the workings of the school. For example, students in Shaw’s Mass Communications Magnet Academy developed and maintain the school’s website, and they produce the school newspaper and the news that airs daily on the Raider News Network. In 2016, Shaw will graduate its first class of Race to the Stage n program students..

Earnhardt, accompanied by National Guard soldiers, told the student body, “To be successful, you must demonstrate that you are serious about your goals. Anything less than your best effort is like taking horsepower off of a race car.”

January/February 2014


Leadership Initiatives for all Educators PAGE High School Redesign Initiative The High School Redesign Initiative supports volunteering high schools and feeder schools. It focuses on the critical need to support and sustain a focus on students and on the quality of the work provided to them.

Key Concepts: ■ ■ ■ ■

Systemic + Continuous Change Engagement + Design System Capacity Standards Social Systems

Location: Individual School District

PAGE Teacher Academy 2014-2016 Teacher teams, whose principals are members of the PAGE Principal Leadership Network, will focus on providing engaging experiences for in-depth learning. Teams will attend eight sessions over two years. Key Concepts: ■ ■ ■ ■

Engagement Design Collaboration Protocols

Location: PAGE Office

PAGE Teacher Leadership Institute 2013-2014 The PAGE Teacher Leadership Institute will consist of interrelated learning experiences for teacher leader development on behalf of school change. Series includes one 2-day session and two 1-day sessions. Teachers will work in school teams. Key Concepts: ■ Engagement-Focused Classrooms + Schools ■ Collaboration ■ Facilitation ■ Design

Location: RESAs

PAGE Assistant Principal Leadership Academy 2013-2015 Assistant principals will focus on transformational change within schools. Teacher teams will join them in year two to focus on the quality of the work provided to students. Key Concepts: ■ Engagement + Design ■ Transformation ■ Principal + Teacher Leadership ■ Facilitation ■ Protocols ■ Capacity

Location: PAGE Office

PAGE Principal Leadership Network 2013-2014 Principals and two or three teachers from their schools will focus on creating engagement-focused schools that nurture profound learning for student and staff. Key Concepts: ■ Transformation ■ Student + Staff Engagement ■ Profound Learning ■ School Design + Work Design Teams ■ Strategic Thinking ■ Capacity

Location: PAGE Office

Visit Professional Learning for details Copyright © 2014 The Professional Association of Georgia Educators. All Rights Reserved.

Register Today

for PAGE Day on the Hill February 18, 2014

• Participate in Q&A on Current Education Topics with State Leaders • Hear from State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge • Enjoy a Catered Luncheon

Morning Morning Sessions Sessions Begin Begin at at 8:00 8:00 a.m. a.m. CLOB, CLOB, Room Room 307 307 Lunch Lunch Session Session at at 12:00 12:00 p.m. p.m. Floyd Floyd Room, Room, Twin Twin Towers Towers West West

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Call 800-334-6861 Or write: P AGE, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141-2270

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Earn Your PLUs at Home! Stay current in your profeSSion!

We currently offer over 100 PLU-approved courses online—and the list is always growing! Each online course earns 1–2 PLUs, and is available 24/7 to give you control of your schedule. To see a complete list of these courses, visit

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Call for Nomination of PAGE Officers 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 online annual 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). Nominees are sought for the following positions: President-Elect This person will serve as PAGE president in 2015-2016 Secretary Incumbent: Chris Canter, Fulton County Treasurer Incumbent: Lamar Scott, Elbert County

District 9 Director This position is currently unfilled. District 10 Director Incumbent: Shannon Hammond, Oconee County (Term expires June 30, 2014) District 11 Director Incumbent: Dr. Sandra Owens, Newton County (Term expires June 30, 2014)

District 12 Director Incumbent: Donna Graham, Bibb County (Term expires June 30, 2014) District 13 Director Incumbent: Dr. Hayward Cordy, Washington County (Term expires June 30, 2014)

Submit nominations for officers and directors no later than April 2, 2014, via email ( or U.S. mail: Dr. Allene Magill, PAGE Executive Director, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA, 31141. Include a brief outline of nominee qualifications.

PAGE Officer Nominating Districts














10th Mc Du







11th Bibb







13th Montgom ery


1st Evans

Sem ino




2014 PAGE Planner January 2014 11 PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades Regionals 14 Teacher Leadership Institute, First District RESA 15 Teacher Leadership Institute, SW and Chatt Flint RESA, Isabella Center, Albany 15 Teacher Leadership Institute, NW and N GA RESA, Calhoun City Schools 16 Teacher Leadership Institute, Middle GA and Heart of GA RESA, Bleckley County HS 17 Teacher Leadership Institute, PAGE office, Atlanta 18 GACE Program Admission Workshop, Mercer University, Henry

22 Teacher Leadership Institute, Coastal Plains and OK RESA 25 PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades State Championships, GA College & State University, Milledgeville

26 Teacher Leadership Institute, Middle GA and Heart of GA RESA, Bleckley County HS 27 Teacher Leadership Institute, First District RESA, Holiday Inn Statesboro


26-27 Principal Leadership Network, PAGE Office, Atlanta

February 1 GACE Program Admission Workshop, Middle Georgia State College, Macon 2-3 Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, PAGE Office, Atlanta 7-9 High School Redesign Initiative, PAGE Office, Atlanta

Officers President Dr. Emily Felton President-Elect Leslie Mills Secretary Chris Canter Treasurer Lamar Scott Past-President Dr. Tim Mullen Directors District 1 District 8 Amy Denty Lindsey Raulerson District 2 District 9 Dr. Todd Cason TBD District 3 District 10 TBD Shannon Hammond District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand Dr. Sandra Owens District 5 District 12 Stephanie Davis-Howard Donna Graham District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Dr. Hayward Cordy District 7 Kelli De Guire Ex-Officio Megan King


11 Teacher Leadership Institute, NW and N GA RESA, Calhoun City Schools

18 PAGE Day on Capitol Hill, Twin Towers, Floyd Room, Atlanta 21-22 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Competition, Berkmar HS, Lilburn

1 GACE Program Admission Workshop, College of Coastal Georgia, Brunswick 6 Teacher Leadership Institute, SW and Chatt Flint RESA, Isabella Center, Albany 7 Teacher Leadership Institute, Coastal Plains and OK RESA 11 Teacher Leadership Institute, PAGE office, Atlanta 16-17 Assistant Principal Leadership Academy, PAGE Office, Atlanta 23-24 Principal Leadership Network, PAGE Office, Atlanta 27-29 FEA Spring Training (FEAST), St. Simon’s Island

April 5 GACE Program Admission Workshop, Mercer University, Atlanta 22 State PAGE STAR Banquet, Crowne Plaza Ravinia, Atlanta

June 6 PAGE Summer Luncheon, Crowne Plaza Ravinia, Atlanta *Please check website https://m360.pageinc. org/frontend/portal/ viewcalendar.aspx for the most current PAGE Planner.

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: Tim Callahan;, PAGE ONE magazine; PAGE; P.O. Box 942270; Atlanta, GA 31141-2270; 770-216-8555; 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 2013-2014 dues is allocated to lobbying. PAGE ONE magazine (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 postage paid at Atlanta, Georgia, and additional mailing offices. (USPS 017-347) Postmaster: Send address changes to PAGE ONE, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141-2270. PAGE ONE magazine is published five times a year (January, March, May, August and October) by New South Publishing, Inc.; 450 Northridge Parkway, Suite 202; Atlanta, GA, 30350; 770-650-1102. Copyright ©2014

January/February 2014



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