Former Defense Attorney Tom Dunn: South Atlanta School of Law & Social Justice Teacher of the Year
Positive Influence of
‘Minds-On’ Engagement | 2014 State PAGE Star Student | Education Legislation
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Contents May/June 2014
Vol. 35 No. 5
04 Later-Career Educators: The Positive Influence of Hard-Earned Knowledge 08 Teacher Leaders Explore ‘Minds-On’ Engagement
2 From the President Thank You for Making My Journey as President Highly Meaningful
PAGE Legislative Summary 11 In the Limelight: Bills that Did Not Pass
3 From the Executive Director Two Reports Tell the Story
Foundation News 14 2014 State PAGE STAR Student and Teacher 17 2014 System Winner STAR Teachers 20 Lakeview–Fort Oglethorpe Wins the 2014 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon
24 Honor Your Favorite Teacher
Legal 30 Students’ Free Speech Is Balanced Against the Authority to Maintain School Order News and Information 28 Teaching Introverts: Allowing for Solitude and Contemplation Helps Sensory-Charged Students Shine
Technology 26 Wading into Technology
On the cover: Former Defense Attorney Tom Dunn: South Atlanta School of Law & Social Justice Teacher of the Year. Photo by Robert Matta
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. May/June 2014
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Editor Tim Callahan
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Associate Editor Meg Thornton
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From The President
Thank You for Making My Journey as President Highly Meaningful Dr. Emily Felton
uring the past year, I have had the pleasure of serving as president of a great organization—PAGE. The journey has strengthened my faith in and my commitment to quality public education in Georgia. News highlights during my tenure included a series of reports by the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute. These reports shine a laser-like spotlight on the devastating toll that education funding cuts have
Dr. Felton with aspiring teachers of South Paulding High School
taken on children throughout Georgia. “The Schoolhouse Squeeze” report provides each of us with a powerful platform to start critical community conversations. “Cutting Class to Make Ends Meet” details, county by county, the financial struggles that Georgia schools are facing. The final report, “Recovery or Bust: Georgia’s Poor Left Behind,” documents the barriers faced by families of the nation’s sixth poorest
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state (Georgia) as they try to climb out of poverty while attempting to obtain a quality education. Battles surrounding Common Core Standards also dominated this year’s education news. Teachers are especially concerned that we have the right tools to properly prepare Georgia’s students for the 21st century. And let’s not forget about the ice storm that kept many of us, including me, at school overnight with our students. Beyond serving as a conduit for PAGE initiatives like Community Conversations, my role as president has enabled me to interact with Georgians concerned about education. In Statesboro, I delivered the keynote address for the Georgia NAACP meeting. At South Paulding High School, I met with aspiring teachers from Sean Smith’s Education Pathways Class. And at Clayton County’s “Evening with the Stars,” I watched as educators were honored for exceeding the call of duty. But, the highlight of my year was at the Regional STAR Banquet in Rome. At that event, a STAR Student diagnosed with mutism acknowledged his STAR Teacher: a kindergarten teacher who taught him to speak. It reminded me that I’ll never know which students I will influence most, so I must nurture the potential in all of them. As Benjamin Mays, past president of Morehouse College, said, “Every man and women is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive, and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.” Thank you for making my journey as PAGE president a valuable and meaningful n experience.
From The Executive Director
Two Reports Tell the Story Dr. Allene Magill
ometimes, charts and graphs tell a story more effectively than simple words. Two recent reports—one from the Southern Education Foundation (SEF) titled “A New Majority: Low Income Students in the South,” and the other from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI) titled “The Schoolhouse Squeeze”—contain charts that tell a devastating story of declining budgets in a time of increasing poverty among school children. They tell a stark story: As educators have been struggling with the effects of more than a decade in cuts to the education budget (approximately $8 billion), they have seen a significant increase in the number of children coming to school from low-income homes. Georgia is one of the poorest states in the nation, according to a recent report by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, the K-12 education organization of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. The economic downturn of 2008 has exacerbated that poverty across our state. The SEF reports that a majority (57 percent) of our students are poor, and a significant percentage of them are in dire poverty. In our cities, the situation is even worse. Georgia is among the states where the child poverty rate in cities is 70 percent. Even in our suburbs, the poverty rate for children is 54 percent, as reported by the SEF. To show how widespread and deep this child poverty is, the SEF reports that in 71 percent of our school districts, a majority of students qualify for a free lunch, while in 84 percent of our school
districts a majority of students meet the free or reduced price guideline. These children are in our schools every day, and educators must meet the challenge of educating them for a better life. We know that children of poverty can learn at high levels, but only if they have the kinds of supports and interventions that make a difference. But as the number of such children has increased, budget cuts have made those interventions and supports difficult if not impossible to provide. More children than ever are in danger of falling through the cracks in such a system. As the demand for more and costly interventions has increased, our schools have faced the most severe budget cuts in many, many years. In their report, GBPI notes that 80 percent of districts are furloughing teachers and 71 percent have cut their school year. Most tellingly, nearly 40 percent have cut programs that assist low-income students. Educating even our best students is a challenge in this environment, but to reach and teach those who come to school with severe poverty-related difficulties, it is challenging in the extreme. PAGE has been encouraging school systems to tell the stories of the challenges they are facing and engage their entire communities in community conversations. The goal is to share the realities of the situation and reach agreements about the role that individuals and groups can play in those communities in working toward solutions. To help advance and
spread these discussions across the state and to provide educators with a common set of facts and data, PAGE is bringing together teams of educators in June for a meeting on “Georgia Students: The Faces of Poverty.” Participants will hear presentations from Steve Suitts, executive director of the Southern Education Foundation, and Claire Suggs, senior education policy analyst for the Georgia Public Budget Institute. To assist participants in the process of developing and shaping their stories for their communities, we will have Ellen Angelotti of the Poynter Institute for Media address the group. Breakout sessions will round out the day as groups from around the state who have already begun or are planning their community conversations share with their colleagues what they have learned. We will report on this meeting, its results and further action as community conversations unfold in the coming year. Our state’s demographics and history of poverty are not things we can change, nor can we attack the national and global forces playing out in our economy, but these factors do not need to become our destiny. We do not have to accept the status quo. We can and we must address the needs of all our students, including those of poverty. At PAGE, we believe we can engage our communities in ways that enable them to fully understand the dimensions of the problem and engage them to join with educators in working n toward solutions.
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The Positive Influence of Hard-Earned Knowledge
By Lee Raudonis
ommander Donnie Hudgens, a 1974 Georgia Tech grad, spent 30 years in the U.S. Navy. Today, as a math teacher, he directs a squadron of adolescents at Gordon County’s Red Bud Middle School. Alfred Owens, a 20-year U.S. Marine veteran, holds a similar post at Pelham High School in Mitchell County. Debbie Hahn oversaw emergency rooms for 14 years, but as the health occupations teacher at Murray County High School today, she’s ushering in the next generation of healthcare professionals. And for Tom Dunn, teaching is a fifth career. He was a civil rights attorney, criminal defense attorney and head of the nonprofit Georgia Resource Center, where he worked to save hundreds of clients from execution. Before all that, he was a cop in New York, and this year he was named Teacher of the Year at South Atlanta High’s School of Law and Social Justice. While experienced teachers possess vast pedagogical knowledge, later-career educators often draw from deep wells that enrich their academic lessons and their relationships with students. “They bring fresh ideas,” says Pelham High School Principal Ben Wiggins. “Telling them that ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it’ doesn’t hold water with them.” Moreover, having deep knowledge of a particular field can benefit students enormously. “These teachers quickly connect and build positive relationships with students interested in their field,” says Murray County High School Principal Gina Linder. “And students are often motivated by these teachers to perform in other subject areas.” 4 PAGE One
Multi-career educators are especially apt at assisting students with career pathway choices. Some even connect students with employers. “They know what employers are looking for and they are able to work with students on those skill sets,” adds Linder. By virtue of their experience, later-career educators are uniquely positioned to make lessons applicable to real life. “I am teaching from a life full of experiences, not from a textbook,” Dunn says. “In my classroom, I never hear, ‘Why do I have to learn this?’” Hahn’s nursing experience is invaluable in her classroom as well. “When [students] ask me if I really have had to perform CPR and what was it like, I can tell them ‘yes,’ and make it relative to why they need to learn it,” she says. Hudgens believes that his vast travels, coupled with actually living through the history of the past 60-plus years, magnifies his impact on students. “We design realworld lessons,” agrees Sonoraville Middle School English teacher Jason Brock, who worked in the medical software and carpet industries. Having weathered life’s challenges also helps. Owens’ students sense that his experience in the Marines has fortified him against sweating the small stuff. “He never seems to have a bad day,” says Pelham student Britt Scarbrough about her math teacher. “He is patient and a great listener,” adds classmate Mariah Leroux.
“The sacrifice they made to go back to school later in life is shown by their devotion and enthusiasm as teachers.” —Pelham High School Principal Ben Wiggins
“These teachers quickly connect and build positive relationships with students interested in their field.” —Murray County High School Principal Gina Linder
Lack of Downtime Is a Culture Shock
Making a career switch into education, however, is hard, even for those who have lived by the motto “the tough get going.” “I was most surprised with what a demanding and exhausting job teaching is,” Hudgens says. “If you do it right, it takes a tremendous amount of dedication.” Brock agrees. “It was a culture shock. As my wife has said, ‘I have never seen you work as hard in business as you do teaching.’” Dunn, who earned a Bronze Star for meritorious service in the Gulf War, echoes the sentiment. “Teaching in a public school, especially an urban public school, is incredibly hard work,” he says. “My prior careers as a criminal defense lawyer, capital defense attorney and officer in the Army were very challenging jobs, but they do not compare to my responMay/June 2014
sibilities as a teacher for Atlanta Public Schools.” The hardest part, Dunn says, is that “You are always on stage, and there is literally no down time. Even during lunch and your planning period, there are students in need of some kind of assistance. The minute you walk through the door until you leave, your attention is on the students who need your knowledge, leadership and compassion. You can’t just close your office door and take time to reflect. That was a big adjustment for me.” The culture shock has not sent them running en masse for the exit doors, however. The Defense Department’s Troops to Teachers program reports that 78 percent of its teachers have remained in the job after three years. That’s similar to the 75 percent, five-year retention rate for all Georgia
teachers, according to the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. The Professional Standards Commission puts the retention rate of Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (TAPP) graduates almost on par with that of traditional teachers, and even higher among TAPP teachers who have participated in the Transition to Teachers Project. “The retention rate for our TAPP candidates is excellent, and several of our TAPPers have been named as Teachers of the Year for their systems in recent years,” says Tim Helms, director Southwest Georgia RESA.
Teachers Are Staying Put
Unfortunately, the sluggish economy in recent years has made breaking into the teaching field more difficult. “Most teachPAGE One 5
Later-Career Teachers “My greatest regret in life is that I did not enter the teaching profession when I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1977. Because I am almost 60 years old, my time in the classroom is limited.” —Bryan Mills, Jeff Davis Middle School Debbie Hahn
ers are staying put, so career-changers are finding it difficult to find positions,” says Dr. Steven R. Miletto, executive director of the Heart of Georgia RESA. In fact, the TAPP program in his region was discontinued a few years ago. However, the Southwest Georgia TAPP program continues to help about 30 candidates a year earn alternative certification. “We are seeing more second-career folks interested in being a part of the world’s greatest profession: Teaching!” says Helms. Prior to 2008, more than 30 percent of all new hires in Georgia came through an alternative certification route. That dropped to just under 25 percent during the recession, says Cyndy Stephens, director of Educator Workforce Talent Acquisition and Development at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. “But, it is beginning to rise again, especially in math, science and special education and also in early childhood education,” she says. In some systems, more than 40 percent of new hires are from non-traditional certification programs. Dunn entered the profession through Teach for America, which also provided him with an AmeriCorps grant to earn a teaching certificate from Georgia State University. Hudgens came up through the Georgia TAPP program.
An Attitude of Gratitude
Beyond admiring the rich experiences of later-career educators, administrators appreciate their gratitude. “The sacrifice they made to go back to school later in life is shown by their devotion and enthusiasm as teachers,” says Wiggins. Helms sees it, too. “We continue to hear testimonials from our TAPP candidates on how they had lost their way after graduating from college (with a degree that they couldn’t use),” he says. “They were floundering in their careers or just not being fulfilled in their current work.” Bryan Mills, who teaches math at Jeff
Pelham math teacher Alfred Owens instructs student Rodrick Jones.
Donnie Hudgens 6 PAGE One
Donnie Hudgens and Red Bud student Spencer Trawick work math problems. May/June 2014
“Teaching in a public school, especially an urban public school, is incredibly hard work. My prior careers as a criminal defense lawyer, capital defense attorney and officer in the Army were very challenging jobs, but they do not compare to my responsibilities as a teacher for Atlanta Public Schools.” —Tom Dunn, South Atlanta High’s School of Law and Social Justice Davis Middle School, can relate. “My greatest regret in life is that I did not enter the teaching profession when I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1977,” he says. “Because I am almost 60 years old, my time in the classroom is limited.” In previous years, Mills worked for the U.S. Dairy Association and operated a family department store. Others have found fulfillment as well in their new career paths. “I love helping sixth graders grow, mature and succeed,” Hudgens says. “I love teaching them the value of hard work, and then seeing the joy that they experience after work-
Former defense attorney Tom Dunn shares first-hand knowledge with his South Atlanta High students (from left) Timdrika Holt, DeMonte’ Harris, Audrice Howard and Charles Ellis. (Photo by Robert Matta.)
ing hard and succeeding. My greatest authority figure like a teacher can make joys come from working with struggling, between having a good life and a ruined sometimes outright defeated, students life. “Having seen too many people at and helping them succeed.” the end of lives gone wrong, [he wanted] Dunn, whose story is profiled in an to keep these students from ending up October 2009 article in The New York like his former clients,” states the Times n Times, turned to teaching to help rescue article. Atlanta’s youth— and himself. Years of stress as a death‘The Hardest Job I’ve Ever Had’ penalty lawyer led to Tom Dunn served in combat and then spent congestive heart failyears representing men and women on death ure. The same day row. “Those were both incredibly hard jobs, [but he left the Georgia teaching middle school students how to read] was Resource Center, he the hardest job I’ve ever had.” See a brief video began his Teach for about this later-career educator America training. by scanning the QR code or visitHe was motivated ing pageinc.org/associations/9445/ by having witnessed pagetv/?page=944&tab=2&tab=2. the difference that having a supportive
Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification More than 25 percent of new teacher hires in Georgia earned their certification through an alternative route such as the following: Georgia TAPP Designed for career switchers with bachelor’s degrees, the Georgia Teacher Alternative Preparation Program (TAPP) provides an internship and induction program leading to a teaching certificate. Candidate support teams at many of Georgia’s Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESA) evaluate participants and recommend paths to attain core competencies. Georgia Teaching Fellows Georgia Teaching Fellows provides an accelerated pathway into teaching for professionals and recent college graduates with no prior teaching experience. Visit tntpteachingfellows.com/georgia/who-we-want to learn more about the program. May/June 2014
Teach for America Teach for America provides career development and places graduates in high-need classrooms. Learn more about the program at teachforamerica.org/our-organization. Troops to Teachers Troops to Teachers (U.S. Department of Defense) helps military personnel transition into teaching in high-need schools. Candidates must meet state teacher certification requirements. Eligible veterans may receive up to $5,000 to help pay for certification and receive a one-time bonus of up to $10,000 for agreeing to teach in a high-needs school. More information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting tttga.net. PAGE One 7
Teacher Leaders Explore ‘Minds-On’ Engagement
he PAGE Teacher Leadership Institute is creating a contemporary vision of teacher leadership—an essential component of a 21st century education for every child in Georgia. More than 85 teams from schools throughout Georgia participated during the 2013-2014 academic year. Educators focused on engagement-focused classrooms and schools, lesson design, collaboration and facilitation. During these sessions, teacher leaders developed high levels of trust within their teams and saw clear evidence that classroom and school success depends on honest expressions of collegial conversation. Participants examined methods of interacting with students to explore their thinking, determine their persistence and assess their engagement. The teams generated probing questions designed to prompt students to express the meaning of their activities. Educators also shared lesson designs that facilitate work of profound meaning and high value to students. “I learned that student engagement is not hands-on, but minds-on,” remarked one participant. Moreover, teacher leaders discovered the power of discussion. In addition to promoting competence and confidence, discussions strengthen collegiality and encourage collaboration. As such, it plays an important role in addressing classroom behaviors and in influencing school-wide decisions. “The PAGE Teacher Leader Institute experience was a profound experience for me,” commented another participant. “Honing in on student engagement and the use of protocols to maximize learning for the student, for me and for fellow teachers was powerful n and extremely useful.”
1 1. The Schlechty Center’s Phillip Brown leads a PAGE Teacher Leadership session. 2. Gretchen Whitt of Union Elementary School (Paulding).
3. Teacher Leaders gather at PAGE to explore engagement-focused classrooms.
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1. Tiffany Cunningham and Sakinah Colonel of Idlewood Elementary School (DeKalb). 2. Teri Schneider of Peachtree Ridge High School (Fulton). 3. Robert Tolbert and Ashley Dean of Glanton Hindman Elementary School (Carroll).
4. Theresa Hoinksy and Ty Vernon of Walton High School (Cobb). 5. Todd Webster and Kimberly Holland of Chestatee High School (Hall).
Photos by Meg Thornton
5 May/June 2014
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2 1. Celest Nageve and Carrie Jones of Rutland Academy (Athens). 2. Shena Jagers of Memorial Middle School (Rockdale).
3. Gretchen Whitt, Kathi Sanders and Kim Merrell of Union Elementary School (Paulding).
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PAGE Legislative Summary
In the Limelight: Bills that Did Not Pass
he dominating theme of the 2014 Georgia General Assembly was the upcoming election cycle. Not only were various bills introduced and passed to appeal to base voters, but legislators hurriedly pushed through the 40-day session in order to wrap up the session and raise campaign funds in time for the May 20 primary. As for education-related legislation, 2014 is more memorable for what bills did not pass, rather than legislation that did. Below is a summary of legislation that was passed and sent to Gov. Nathan Deal to sign into law or veto by April 29. The effective date of the legislation is July 1, unless otherwise specified. The electronic version of this PAGE legislative report includes links to some supporting documents and legislative voting records. Please see how House and Senate members voted and learn more about legislative issues.
Common Core Study Committee
HR 550 originated as a proposed constitutional amendment allowing communities to return to a system of electing their local school superintendents. In the final days of the 2014 session, that language was stripped from the legislation and did not pass. In its place, House leaders inserted a measure creating a study committee on the Common Core standards and the role of federal government in education. (See more on Common Core in the Failed Legislation section of this report.)
Weapons in Schools
School Association, SB 288 by Sen. Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton), requires the athletic association to annually publish its financial reports and create the Georgia High School Athletics legislative oversight committee.
Child Abuse Reporting Improvements
PAGE-supported legislation, HB 914 sponsored by Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell), that requires child protective services to acknowledge within 24 hours in writing that it has received a report from any educator making a required report of suspected child abuse. Within five days of a completed investigation of reported abuse, protective services will report back in writing to the school coun-
selor or principal whether child abuse was confirmed or unconfirmed.
Proposed Income Tax Cap
Voters will have their say in November regarding a proposal to cap Georgia’s income tax rate. Sen. David Shafer’s (R-Duluth) proposed constitutional amendment, SR 415, was opposed by some advocates for public education and social services because of the amendment’s potential to limit revenue available for public services.
Tax-Free Holidays for 2014 & 2015
Rep. Doug Holt (R-Social Circle) sponHB 958 sponsored by Rep. Chad sored HB 60 that evolved into omnibus gun Nimmer (R-Blackshear) lays out the legislation expanding the locations where upcoming back-to-school tax holidays for Georgians may carry firearms. The bill authorizes local boards of education to designate employees who hold carry permits to carry firearms in schools, on school buses and at school functions. HB 826 by Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) expands the legal definition of school safety zone to include school buses and bus stops. The legislation also modifies the school zero-tolerance weapons law, redefining prohibited weapons (excluding firearms) and giving school administrators more discretion in enforcement Weighing the Impact of Legislation of zero-tolerance provisions. From left, Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs; Rep. Mike
One of several proposed 2014 bills aimed at the Georgia High May/June 2014
Dudgeon (R-Johns Creek); and Claire Suggs of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute addressed attendees at this year’s PAGE Day on Capitol Hill. (Photos by Lynn Varner.)
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this year and next. Eligible school supplies and clothing items will be exempt from state sales tax on Aug. 1–2 2014, and July 31–Aug. 1, 2015.
HB 697 by Rep. Stacy Evans (D-Smyrna) creates the Zell Miller Scholarship Scholars Program, which covers the entire cost of tuition for Georgia’s high-achieving technical college students. Another HOPE-related bill, HB 810 sponsored by Rep. Joyce Chandler (R-Grayson), drops ACT and SAT achievement requirements from the 85th percentile to the 80th percentile for homeschool students for the purposes of determining HOPE eligibility.
Other Education Measures that Passed
While preparing for the upcoming statewide elections, educators should talk with candidates about their views on these failed bills. The proposals have resounding implications for students and teachers and will almost certainly be revisited in subsequent legislative sessions.
Another HOPE-related measure from a stalled bill requiring schools to annually give students their un-weighted GPAs for the purposes of determining HOPE eligibility was successfully amended onto HB 405, sponsored by Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-Decatur), which requires governance training for charter school boards. HB 714 by Rep. Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming) prohibits non-certified school contractors not employed by local school systems from receiving unemployment benefits during summer and holiday closures. The Work-Based Learning Act, HB 766, by Rep. Eddie Lumsden (R-Armuchee) updates Georgia’s Youth-Based Apprenticeship Program, allowing students age 16 and up to participate and authorizes the Georgia Department of Education to establish related rules and guidelines. SB 281 sponsored by Sen. Judson Hill (R-Marietta) requires the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) to offer at least one high deductible option with a health savings account. Sen. Fran Millar’s (R-Atlanta) SB 301 allows schools to be constructed of wood.
ED O T E V
Study Committees and NonBinding Resolutions that Passed
HR 1186 by Rep. Harry Geisinger (R-Roswell) encourages schools to adopt Skills for Success financial literacy classes. Sponsored by Sen. Jack Hill
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(R-Reidsville), SR 875 creates the Joint Study Committee on the Property Tax Digest Impact on Education Funding, which will study the impact of local property taxes on school equalization funding and the five mill share. SR 1200 by Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) creates a study committee on school discipline tasked with examining racial disparities in student expulsion and alternative school assignment.
State Budget Overview
The good news this year is that a portion of the painful ongoing education austerity reductions has been restored. The General Assembly and governor earmarked approximately $314 million, which will fill part of the rolling hole in Georgia’s Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula. When announcing the partial restoration, policymakers indicated they intend the monies to be used by cash-strapped local school systems to restore a full school year, end furloughs and increase educator pay. Unfortunately, given the severity of the budget woes facing many local districts, it is very unlikely that most school districts can afford to initiate each of these three items. Other budget highlights include the allocation of about $100 million to fully fund formulaic increases in student enrollment growth and teacher training
and experience, as well as more than $414,000 added to the QBE formula for a pay increase for school nurses and to fund the statefinanced portion of nurse health insurance. Review the entire AFY 2014 and FY 2015 state education budget on the PAGE website by accessing our archived Reports from the Capitol.
The following legislation did not pass during the 2014 session. Though the proposals contained therein may be reintroduced for the 2015 session, the measures will receive another bill number and must begin anew through the legislative process. While preparing for the upcoming statewide elections, educators should talk with candidates about their views on these failed bills. The proposals have resounding implications for students and teachers and will almost certainly be revisited in subsequent legislative sessions.
Anti-Common Core Bill
SB 167, related to Georgia’s use of the Common Core Standards, generated the most controversy this year. Sen. William Ligon’s (R-Brunswick) proposal underwent many changes, but in its final form, legislation would have allowed local school systems to adopt their own individual standards, create a state standards advisory council comprised mostly of grandparents and parents who would review proposed changes to Georgia’s curriculum standards and contain problematic prohibitions regarding the use of student data. The bill passed the Senate and appeared to have the approval of the governor’s office and the House until an unlikely coalition opposing SB 167 gained traction. At House Education Committee hearings on the bill, advocates from chambers of commerce, the technology sector, U.S. military, charter schools, higher education, every statewide education group including PAGE and concerned parents and individual educators spoke out against SB 167. As a result, House Education Committee Vice Chair Mike Dudgeon (R-Johns Creek) drafted a more moderMay/June 2014
ate compromise bill, but Ligon rejected the amended legislation. Ultimately, a bipartisan group of House Education Committee members voted down Ligon’s legislation. Their thoughtful and pragmatic approach on this issue is to be commended. Committee members voting against SB 167 include: Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson) Rep. Amy Carter (R-Valdosta) Rep. Valerie Clark (R-Lawrenceville) Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta) Rep. Hugh Floyd (D-Norcross) Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro) Rep. Wayne Howard (D-Augusta) Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D-Atlanta) Rep. Howard Maxwell (R-Dallas) Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-Decatur) Rep. Alisha Morgan (D-Austell) Rep. Randy Nix (R-LaGrange) Rep. Willie Talton (R-Warner Robbins)
committee process. The resolution would have created a study committee on the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). The bill did not mention specific proposed changes the committee might study, but throughout the country, states are considering substantial changes to traditional pension programs, moving some from defined benefit to defined contribution programs and broadening pension investments to include higher risk venture capital investments.
PAGE’S SHBP Reforms
Thanks are in order to Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) for sponsoring PAGE-proposed reforms to the SHBP. McKoon’s legislation, SB 346, sought to add an educator and state employee to the Board of Community Health overseeing the SHBP and created a SHBP advisory committee comprised of retired and active educators and state n employees.
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Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Tom Taylor’s (R-Dunwoody) HR 486, which was an amendment that would allow recently incorporated cities in metro Atlanta to create new school systems, also failed, in addition to a resolution allowing local communities to levy an ESPLOST for some school operating expenses. The failed ESPLOST amendment, HR 1109, was sponsored by Rep. Andy Welch (R-McDonough).
Charter Schools & the Title 20 Rewrite Bill
Two controversial charter school bills sponsored by Rep. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta) both failed. Last year’s much-discussed HB 123, which would allow parents to vote to convert traditional public schools to charter schools; and HB 964, which would allow businesses and municipalities to create their own charter schools authorized by the Georgia Charter School Commission, did not gain enough traction to pass both chambers. Charter provisions contained in an otherwise innocuous Title 20 Rewrite Bill, HB 897 sponsored by Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R-Johns Creek), doomed the bill to failure in the Senate.
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TRS Study Committee Bill
Though it generated a lot of conversation under the Gold Dome and in the education community, SR 782 by Sen. Hunter Hill (R-Atlanta) did not move through the May/June 2014
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Foundation News 2014 State PAGE STAR Student and Teacher
nastasia (Audy) Mulia, a senior at Alpharetta High School in Fulton County, is the 2014 State PAGE STAR Student. She named Thomas Wellnitz, her 10th-grade chemistry teacher at Alpharetta High, as her State PAGE STAR Teacher. William Connor Roberts, a senior at Stephens County High School, is the State PAGE STAR Student Runner-up and chose Tamera Cash, his 12th-grade calculus teacher, as his STAR Teacher. The announcement came at the State PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators) STAR Banquet on April 22 at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia in Atlanta. Eighteen STAR Student Region winners were finalists in the culminating event of the STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition) program, which began earlier this year with the naming of 520 local STAR Students from each of the participating public and independent schools throughout Georgia. This year’s class of STAR Students and STAR Teachers is the largest honored in the program’s history. Nine of this year’s finalists scored 2400 on one administration of the SAT, and all are in the top 10 percent or top 10 of their class. The STAR program, now in its 56th year, is sponsored by the PAGE Foundation, Georgia Chamber of Commerce and Georgia Department of Education, with the PAGE Foundation having primary responsibility for the program since 1994. Other sponsors include AT&T Georgia, Frances Wood Wilson Foundation Inc., PAGE, The Coca-Cola Company and The Mozelle Christian Endowment. Since its inception, the STAR program has honored more than 24,000 students and their teachers for academic excellence. “The PAGE Foundation is proud to work with its partners, local and regional sponsors and respected corporations and foundations to continue the STAR tradition,” says PAGE Foundation President John Varner. “We commend the students and teachers STAR honors and wish them continued success.”
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2014 State PAGE STAR Student Anastasia Mulia and State PAGE STAR Teacher Thomas Wellnitz
Mulia, an Alpharetta resident and daughter of Hudy and Augustine Mulia, plans to attend Stanford University in California after graduation. As this year’s State PAGE STAR Student, she was honored with a $5,000 scholarship from AT&T Georgia, which was presented by AT&T Director of External Affairs Dennis Boyden. The State PAGE STAR Teacher, Wellnitz of Decatur, received a $2,500 cash award from the Frances Wood Wilson Foundation Inc., which was presented by foundation President Blitch Ann Bird. Roberts, the State STAR Student Runnerup, received a $1,000 scholarship from the PAGE Foundation, which was presented by PAGE Foundation Chair and VALIC Southeast Region Vice President Allen Thomas. He also received a $1,000 scholarship from The Coca-Cola Company,
which was presented by J. Mark Davis, president of The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. Roberts is the son of Lynn and Barry Roberts and lives in Toccoa. Upon graduation, he plans to attend Harvard University in Massachusetts. PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill presented Cash, the State STAR Teacher Runner-up who is also from Toccoa, with the $500 Mozelle Christian Endowment Award. Georgia Chamber Board Member Michael Brown also presented Cash with a $500 award from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. The PAGE Foundation, PAGE and The Coca-Cola Company sponsored the State PAGE STAR Banquet. Additionally, The Coca-Cola Company sponsored an evening reception and earlier in the day presented each of the 18 finalists with a May/June 2014
$100 cash award. Each finalist and his or her teacher also received a hand-blown glass star by Lillie Glassblowers from the PAGE Foundation, which was presented by Magill and Thomas. Local STAR Students and STAR Teachers attending the banquet received a memento of the evening. At their region events, Region STAR Students received a $500 cash scholarship from the PAGE Foundation and Region STAR Teachers a $200 award from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. To view a video report of the State PAGE STAR Banquet, visit pagefoundation.org and click on the video link under the heading “PAGE State STAR Student and Teacher Named,” or scan n this QR code.
2014 State PAGE STAR Student Anastasia Mulia (third from left) and her STAR Teacher Thomas Wellnitz are shown following their awards presentation. Award presenters include (l-r) PAGE Foundation Chair and VALIC Southeast Region Vice President Allen Thomas, AT&T Director of External Affairs Dennis Boyden, PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill, Frances Wood Wilson Foundation Inc. President Blitch Ann Bird and PAGE Foundation President John Varner. State PAGE STAR Student Runner-up William Connor Roberts and his STAR Teacher Tamera Cash (center) are joined by award presenters (l-r) President of The CocaCola Scholars Foundation J. Mark Davis, PAGE Foundation Chair Allen Thomas, PAGE President Dr. Emily Felton, PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill and Georgia Chamber of Commerce Board Member Michael Brown.
Retired WSB-TV reporter Jeff Dore interviews STAR Region Winner Yehong Zhu from East Coweta High School in Newnan. May/June 2014
(l-r) J. Mark Davis, president of The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, is joined by STAR Region winners Apoorva Gangavelli and William Jin at The Coca-Cola Reception. PAGE One 15
The 2014 Region STAR Students: (front row, l-r) Maya Lynette Grimes, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta; Anastasia Mulia, Alpharetta High, Fulton County; Yelim Youm, Columbus High, Muscogee County; Noor Nejma Amari, North Oconee High, Oconee County; Allison Marie Stauffer, Brookwood School, Thomas County; Apoorva Gangavelli, North Gwinnett High, Gwinnett County; and Naa Adorkor Allotey, Mount de Sales Academy, Bibb County; (middle row, l-r) Alexandra Michelle Smith, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta; Tony Huang, Brunswick High, Glynn County; Yehong Zhu, East Coweta High, Coweta County; Emily Johnson, Savannah Arts Academy, Chatham County; Adriano Omar Iqbal, Druid Hills High, DeKalb County; Andrew Tisinger, Bremen High, Bremen City; and Michael Yu, Parkview High, Gwinnett County; and (back row, l-r) John Collin Summerlin, Tift County High; William Connor Roberts, Stephens County High; Archer H. Kinnane, Henry W. Grady High, Atlanta City; and William Huang Jin, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Gwinnett County.
The 2014 Region STAR Teachers: (front row, l-r) Tamera Cash, Stephens County High; Amy Durden, Savannah Arts Academy, Chatham County; Gina Reynolds, Arnold Magnet Academy, Muscogee County; Patricia Caldwell, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Gwinnett County; Carol Sheftall, Brookwood School, Thomas County; Debbie Salter, Tift County High; Miriam Ledford-Lyle, North Oconee High, Oconee County; Robin Campbell, Bremen High, Bremen City; Paula Corley, White Oak Elementary, Coweta County; and Debra Morina, Brunswick High, Glynn County; (back row, l-r) Thomas Wellnitz, Alpharetta High, Fulton County; Ron McLachlan, Mount de Sales Academy, Bibb County; Jeff Cramer, Henry W. Grady High, Atlanta City; Freddy Martin and Woodrow Barnes, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta; Paul Johnson, Druid Hills High, DeKalb County; Richard Magner, Parkview High, Gwinnett County; and Kim Wimpey, North Gwinnett High, Gwinnett County. 16â€‚ PAGE One
2014 System Winner STAR Teachers * Indicates Region Winner
Mrs. Julia Gamble
Ms. Rwanda Gates
Ms. Jaime Williams
Mrs. Cindy Wall
Mrs. Barbara Rousey
Ms. Kathryn Abbey
Mrs. Paula Corley*
Mr. Paul Mixon
Mr. Jeff Cramer*
Mr. James Moore
Mrs. Gail Ballard
Mr. Woodrow Barnes*
Ms. Bersy Navarro
Mrs. Sherin Hinnant
Mr. Freddy Martin*
Mr. Matthew High
Mrs. Elizabeth Portier
Mr. Charles Myers
Dr. Karen Chenard
Ms. Stephanie Bridwell
Mrs. Tammy Kennedy
Mr. Ryan Coker
Mr. Daniel Funt
Mrs. Abby Rutledge
Mr. David Schaar
Jeff Davis County
Ms. Lucy Ussery
Ms. Jennifer Calvert
Mrs. Erica Farmer
Mr. Sanford Freeman
Ben Hill County
Mrs. Debby Reynolds
Mr. Paul Johnson*
Mrs. Brenda Reagan
Mr. Nick Hodge
Mrs. Selena Woodard
Mr. Brian Burruss
Mr. Ron McLachlan*
Mr. Ronnie Roberts
Mrs. Gina Bright
Ms. Abby Schirmer*
Mrs. Janet Guillebeau
Mrs. Susan Glover
Mrs. Holly Spires
Ms. Victoria Burnett
Mrs. Jewel Filipovich
Mrs. Jennifer Scruggs
Ms. Mary Pearl Whitlock
Mr. Matt Elder
Mrs. Robin Campbell*
Mrs. Tammy Kilgore
Mr. Tom Sharpe
Mr. Donald Morgan
Ms. Patricia Tomlinson
Mrs. Susan Turner
Mr. Joseph Traywick
Mr. Brian Witrick
Ms. Sue Bell
Ms. Rebecca Moon
Mr. Philip Bohlen
Ms. Denise Montgomery
Mrs. Mary Adamson
Mrs. Regina Tabor
Mrs. Karen Summerlin
Mrs. Karen Reeves
Mr. Mac Barron
Mr. Don Brock
Mr. Luke McFarland
Mrs. Susan Todd
Dr. Sean McKenzie
Mrs. Sandra Burlingame
Mrs. Twinkle Sarah Samuel Mark
Ms. Diane Lodmell
Mr. John Campbell
Mr. Trent Wilkes
Mrs. Twila Durden
Mr. Bill Daughtry
Mrs. Julie Pinto
Mrs. Hattie Cynthia Hurley
Ms. Janet Pavlicek
Mr. Michael Medders
Mr. Shawn Lawrence
Mr. Mark Hamner
Mrs. Susan Hitt
Mrs. Bea Belville
Mr. Thomas Wellnitz*
Mrs. Alicia Rosenbaum
Mr. Jack Leather
Mr. Andy Miller
Ms. Amy Durden*
Mr. Gregory Wingo
Mr. David Cochran
Mr. Michael Costello
Mrs. Karen Appelbaum
Mrs. Debra Morina*
Mrs. Rhonda Cowart
Mrs. Stacy Calvert
Mrs. Heather Solmon
Mr. Justin Amaro
Mr. Dion Muldrow
Mr. Scott Yearwood
Mrs. Jennifer Henley
Mrs. Patricia Caldwell*
Mrs. Emily Kennedy
Mr. Kim Wimpey*
Mr. Alan Farnsworth
Mr. Richard Magner*
Mrs. Mary White
Habersham County Mrs. Agren Hicks
Mr. Eddie Murray
Mrs. Kimberly Grennan
Mr. Tim Shafer*
Mr. Phillip Young
Meriwether County Mrs. Kay Barnes Mitchell County
Ms. Betsy Caldwell
Mr. Martin Magda
Montgomery County Mrs. Janeth Coleman Morgan County
Dr. Deana Shuman
Dr. Jenny Lock
Mrs. Gina Reynolds*
Mr. Eric Adams
Mrs. Miriam Ledford-Lyle*
Oglethorpe County Mrs. Penny Miller Paulding County
Mrs. Tammy Brown
Mrs. Christina Stanley
Mrs. Lakeisha Bobbitt
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Foundation News 2014 System Winner STAR Teachers continued Pelham City
Mr. Michael Boyd
Mrs. Karen Kinnamon
Mrs. Narci Drossos
Mrs. Susan Anderson
Mrs. Casey McNeely
Mrs. Holly Stone
Ms. Debra Perkins
Mr. Irving Bush
Mrs. Sandra Calloway
Mr. Mike McNutt
Mrs. Robin Loden
Mrs. Shea Floyd
Mrs. Ashley Lee
Virtual School System
Mrs. Lisa Herring
Mr. Larry Bennett
Mrs. Carol Sheftall*
Mr. Rick Chambers
Mr. Joe DeLoach
Mr. Donald Wisdom
Mrs. Alice Jump
Mrs. Mollie Colvin
Mrs. Kay Cook
Mr. James Rhodes
Mrs. Erin White
Mr. Brinkley Bradshaw
Mr. Kevin Trammell
Mrs. Debbie Salter*
Washington County Mrs. Traci Upton
Mr. James W. Hauck
Mrs. Ann Smith
Dr. Rob Patton
Ms. Joanna Chestnut
Mrs. Lynn Swanson
Mrs. Tera Johnston
Mr. Arthur (Troy) Blocker
Mrs. Melanie Kilgore
Mrs. Leighann Noll
Mrs. Nancy Sell
Mrs. Kay Bowman
Mrs. Jennifer Greene
Mr. Michael Savage
Mrs. Janice Ingram
Mr. Lee Collins
Social Circle City
Mrs. Kim Braswell
Mrs. Debbie Fletcher
Mrs. Eleanor Angles
Mrs. Cheryl Clark
Mr. Willie Stephens
Mr. Russell Beard
Mrs. Tamera Cash*
Mrs. Amy Payne
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May/June 2014 Prod. Final Approval
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Wins the 2014 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon
The 2014 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Champion Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe team members and their coaches are joined by award presenters at the PAGE GAD Awards banquet. Pictured: (back row, from left) Selma Kajtazovic, who is holding a photo of teammate Eric Cagle, Randi Fisher, Anna Kim, PAGE Foundation President John Varner, Justin Allen, Atreyu Hollifield, Coaches Ian Beck and Lisa Beck; and (front row, from left) Valerie King, Abbie Stokes, photo of teammate Jonathan Mitchell and Oglethorpe Power Corporation Community Relations Coordinator Mary Rohletter (not pictured team member Hailey Robinson). Rohletter presented a $1,000 donation on behalf of Oglethorpe Power to the GAD State Champion to help defray their travel expenses to the USAD National Competition.
atoosa County’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School, coached by Lisa Beck and Ian Beck, is the 2014 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD) State Champion. It is the fifth time that the high school has captured the event’s top honor. Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe’s team scored the most points overall in Division I and II and was presented the Howard Stroud Championship trophy. This year’s two-day academic competition was held on Feb. 21 and 22 at Berkmar High School in Gwinnett County. Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe is a Division II, or small school (based on school population size), participant and
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was submitted as the Georgia representative to the 33rd Annual United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) National Competition, which was held April 24 – 26, 2014, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Division I (large school) winners include: Division I Champion, Gwinnett County’s Berkmar High, coached by Christopher Pae and Robert Krask; First Runner-up, Gwinnett County’s Parkview High, coached by Melodie Carr, Amy Hammond and Dave Steele; and Second Runner-up, Gwinnett County’s Mill Creek High, coached by Drs. Lori Bowen and Michael Brasel. Division II (small school) winners
include: Division II Champion, Catoosa County’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High; First Runner-up, Chattahoochee County High, coached by Sarita H. Griggs; and Second Runner-up, Floyd County’s Pepperell High, coached by Tim Gillespie and Norma Williams. The United States Academic Decathlon sponsors a Small School, Medium School and Large School Online National Competition based on student school population size, which was held in conjunction with the national finals competition in late April. Pepperell High represented Georgia in the USAD Medium School Online Competition
and Chattahoochee County High in the USAD Small School Online Competition. Oglethorpe Power, PAGE, the PAGE Foundation and Georgia Department of Education sponsored the decathlon. Kennesaw State University served as a partner with the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon by hosting and providing expert speakers for the GAD Fall Workshop and providing and coordinating the more than 200 volunteers needed during the state championship competition. The Gwinnett County Public School System served as host. David Chandley, meteorologist for Atlanta’s WSB-TV-Channel 2, served as Master of Ceremonies for the GAD Awards Banquet, during which the highest-scoring students were awarded both team and individual medals in various competition categories. Approximately 200 high school students from 22 high schools representing 14 school districts competed in the academic event. During the competition, students were tested in seven content areas: economics, art, language and literature, mathematics, science, social science and music. Additionally, students earned points individually in three communication events: public speaking, a personal interview and a written essay. The program is unique because each ninemember team is made up of three “A,” or Honor students; three “B,” or Scholastic students; and three “C,” or Varsity students. Each year the program features a different overall curriculum topic. This year’s topic was World War I. On Saturday afternoon, students participated in the exciting Super Quiz, during which team members competed in a quiz bowl format keying in answers to questions. World Scholars Cup Founder and Executive Director Daniel Berdichevsky served as the Master of Ceremonies. During the GAD Awards Banquet, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe was named this year’s Super Quiz Champion, Chattahoochee County High won First Runner-up honors and Pepperell High was named Second Runner-up. This year a “Rookie of the Year” award was added to the decathlon event. The award, given to the highest-scoring new team to the state competition, was presented to Muscogee County’s Shaw High, n coached by Natasha Torres.
Division I (large school) Champion Gwinnett County’s Berkmar High. Team members include (from left) Coach Chris Pae, Juan Almanza, Coach Robert Krask, Ryan Ngo, Sally Tran, Quang Tran, Mati Nemera, Demetrius Hawk, Michael Amaya and Fahim Choudhury. Not pictured, Anu Ittycheri.
Division I First Runner-up Gwinnett County’s Parkview High. The team was accepted by USAD and competed as the Georgia wild card team at the USAD National Competition. Team members include (back row, from left) Coaches Dave Steele and Amy Hammond, Chris Rogers, Valentyn Kniaziev and Sebastian Posada; and (front row, from left) Coach Melodie Carr, Sara Anderson, Devon Berkenstock, Julia Ding, Dorena Nguyen, Drew Welser and Sida Tang.
Division I Second Runner-up Gwinnett County’s Mill Creek High team members include (back row, from left) Kyung Noh, Eric Shim, Chad Martire, Michael Lucaci, Zach Schlesinger and Dustin Park; and (front row, from left) Coach Dr. Lori Bowen, Meghan Serafin, Tomi Akinmola and Melanie Huntley. Not pictured, Coach Michael Brasel.
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Foundation News Prepared Speech Presenters
Honor Presenter: Quang Tran, Gwinnett County’s Berkmar High
Scholastic Presenter: Michael Amaya, Gwinnett County’s Berkmar High
Varsity Presenter: Tiana De La Rosa, Carroll County’s Villa Rica High
Division II (small school) First Runnerup Chattahoochee County High team members include (back row, from left) Trevor McDaniels, Benjamin Edwards, Joshua Edwards, Jacob Martinez, Kijany Ayala and Coach Sarita H. Griggs; and (front row, from left) Dustin Chandler, Natalie Brown, Michelle Guffey and Alexander Medina.
Division II Second Runner-up Floyd County’s Pepperell High team members include (back row, from left) Coaches Norma Williams and Tim Gillespie, Hayden Owen, Michael Payne, Blake Rochester, and Masumi Askew; and (front row, from left) Grafton Flock, Cameron Sharpe, Savannah Crabbe, Marlin Wright and Bill Crowe.
The “Rookie of the Year” team award was presented to Muscogee County’s Shaw High. Team members include (from left) Austin Nichols, Briana Tucker, Taylor Cerrato, Matthew Tessier, Latara Reid, Jacobe Love, Madeleine Drew, Coach Natasha Torres, Kameron Leatherwood and Anderson Peguero.
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Communications Pro Preps GAD State Champs for Nationals In preparation for the U.S. Academic Decathlon national competition in Hawaii in late April, the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High decathlon team prepped with an Atlanta communications professional and SpeechWorks co-founder Spring Asher. Pictured with Asher (far right), who donated SpeechWorks services to the state champs, are (front, from left): Anna Kim, Valerie King and Abbie Stokes; (back, from left) Justin Allen, Jonathan Mitchell, Eric Cagle and Atreyu Hollifield. Photo by Meg Thornton.
Kennesaw State University representatives (from left) Connie Lane, grant manager for the Bagwell College of Education; Kathy Rechsteiner, administrative associate to the associate vice president of Facilities Services; and Dee Rule, administrative associate in the Teacher Resource and Activity Center (TRAC). KSU is a partner with the PAGE Foundation for the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon.
2014 Super Quiz Winners Super Quiz Champion, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High, coached by Lisa Beck and Ian Beck
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First Runner-up, Chattahoochee County High, coached by Sarita H. Griggs Second Runner-up, Floyd County’s Pepperell High, coached by Tim Gillespie and Norma Williams
Highest Individual Scorers Honor Mati Nemera Berkmar High
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Honor Your Favorite Teacher Memories of Engaging, Visual Lessons Remain Vivid By Dr. Michele Williams Taylor, superintendent of Calhoun City Schools and PAGE Foundation trustee
ngaged students are attentive, persistent and committed. When engaged in learning, students value and find meaning in the work and learn to their full potential. Throughout my school career, I was fortunate to have my share of great teachers, but it was Mrs. Sherry Campbell who engaged me and made the most impact on who I am today. Mrs. Campbell was my eighth-grade social studies teacher. By connecting on a personal level, she demonstrated that she cared about me. She believed in me more than I believed in myself. Her classroom had rituals and routines. We knew what to expect and we knew that she wanted us to be successful. We also knew that we had to listen and be prepared to share what we had learned. Those who were a part of Mrs. Campbell’s class loved the “Wiggle” and learned how to compete for the top seat.
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This competitive challenge created a fun learning environment in which being engaged was the norm. Mrs. Campbell was an extraordinary teacher who brought history to life with every lesson. Entering her classroom was like stepping into a time machine. The learning was relevant and the lessons were engaging. Decades later, after teacher education courses and reflections about my own educational experiences, I see how much time, effort and planning went into Mrs. Campbell’s teaching. She never did anything halfway; it was always a full-fledged production. Lights, camera, action—the classroom was a stage. Mrs. Campbell always said she wanted to be an actress, so she pretended that we were the audience. She got to perform to a new group every class period. I will never forget the story of the Alamo. To this day, I can visualize the reenactment in class. I was a somewhat timid eighth grader who lacked self-confidence. Mrs. Campbell knew that I loved to sing, and she encouraged me to enter the eighth-grade talent show. Actually, I don’t think I had a say so in the matter. She said, “Michele, you can sing so you’re going to participate in the upcoming talent showcase.” Her encouragement empowered me to share my love of music. I began singing solos at church and later tried out for a part in the senior play. After high school graduation, I attended Shorter College to pursue a degree in education. I’ll never forget calling Mrs. Campbell to see if I could complete my student teaching experience in her classroom. She was an excellent supervising teacher! She gave me great feedback and support throughout the practicum experience. I couldn’t wait to go to school every day so that I could learn something new from her. Upon graduation, I was ecstatic to know that I would be teaching down the hall from her. Naturally, she served as my mentor, and when I became a peer administrator, I turned to Mrs. Campbell for advice. Mrs. Campbell was there for me as a student, a teacher and administrator, and I will be forever grateful for her support. She continues to be a strong supporter of Calhoun City Schools and an advocate for the CalhounDr. Michele Taylor n Gordon County community.
Lights, camera, action—the classroom was a stage. Mrs. Campbell always said she wanted to be an actress, so she pretended that we were the audience.
Fewer than half of all teachers in Georgia are registered to vote. Make sure YOUR voice is heard in this important election year. It’s about the future of public education. “No election year in Georgia has ever been more important than 2014 when it comes to public education.” -Dr. Allene Magill, Executive Director, Professional Association of Georgia Educators
Register to Vote. It’s Easy! Download a registration form, visit a library or register when renewing your driver’s licence.
The registration deadline for the Nov. 4 General Election is Oct. 6. Already registered? Vote early now in the May 20 Primary Election.
Educators, support our schools!
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teach 21st-century learners collaborate
This PAGE One column features technology-in-the-classroom advice from tech-savvy Georgia educators.
Technology in the Classroom:
Wading into Technology By Nick Zomer, Life Science Teacher at Mill Creek Middle School (Cherokee)
Nick Zomer, a seventhgrade life science teacher at Mill Creek Middle School in Woodstock, loves to experiment with technology, especially BYOT/BYLD. He holds a master’s degree in Education in Technology Integration in the Classroom from Walden University. Zomer is also a graduate of the PAGE Teacher Academy, where he is now an instructor, and has served as an ex-officio on the PAGE Board of Directors.
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recently attended a professional learning event that was relevant and useful, at least until the last five minutes. That’s when the presenter dropped a buzzword that is flying through American schools: the flipped classroom. The problem wasn’t that he mentioned the concept, it was that he failed to explain it. “Flipping” the classroom means that students learn information outside of the traditional classroom, often through video tutorials. Class time is then devoted to enrichment or remediation. I have heard and read a lot about the flipped classroom, and I am eager to try it. However, I could tell by the puzzled looks and body language in the audience that I was in the minority. Rather than telling what it means to “flip” a classroom and explaining his journey into this process, the presenter simply trumpeted his success and encouraged others to follow. Devoid of understanding how and why to flip a classroom, audience members who otherwise may have embraced the concept were turned off. Technology integration cannot be a “do as I do” process. Teachers need to develop confidence through practice and support before transforming their classrooms. Rather than diving into the deep end at the beginning, I suggest that educators begin technology integration at a pace that allows them to gain sure footing.
Begin with the teaching, not the technology
When teachers begin learning a new technology, they often try to design an
entire lesson around it. A much better approach is to start by identifying your standard, essential question and end goal: what you want the students to know. Do you want students to communicate with one another through a blog or microblog site? Do you want them to work collaboratively via a wiki or other secure classroom environment? Would you prefer that they create evidence of their learning through a visual example? Once you define your end goal, find a technology tool that reinforces the concepts you are teaching. By not trying to fit a square resource into a round lesson—you’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration. The instruction has to be the priority; technology is the engagement piece. Remember, there will not be questions about Twitter on the CRCT or EOCT. Play first
Most students are tech-savvy, but teachers shouldn’t make assumptions when it comes to instructional technology. You may want your students to use a website or tool differently than how they are accustomed to using it. Therefore, to be able to point your students in the right direction, you must immerse yourself in the technology and work through some of the logistics ahead of time. You will not be able to predict every situation, but having a working knowledge of the program will make you much more confident.
Don’t worry about your neighbors
Students notoriously compare one class May/June 2014
to another. In my middle be discouraging, but don’t school, I am always hearing let that disparity keep you about what Mr. Somebody from trying the technology and Mrs. So-and-So are again. The more you use doing in their classroom. Use it, the more the roadblocks those teachers as resources. will diminish. My first periThe following websites offer simple tools to Ask them for tips on how od class sometimes faces begin integrating technology in your classroom. they utilize a particular tool, more technological chalor go and observe their lenges than my fourth periBlogging: edublogs.com or wordpress.com class. Don’t treat technology od class. It is not because as a competition. If you are one class is more capable Microblogging: twitter.com just entering the technolwith the resource than the ogy realm, do not expect to other, it’s because I made Student Interaction: pbworks.com, transform your classroom adjustments in how I am edmodo.com or todaysmeet.com overnight. Just as we learn to using the tool. Be honest walk one step at a time, we with yourself about what learn technology one step at worked and what did not. a time. Become a master at Be willing to make another one skill or resource before venturing out frustration that comes from being excited attempt with the resource on another day, about a lesson idea only to find out that it but be realistic. If you have tried an idea into the next. will not work. When that happens, having or resource three or more times, and each Have a backup plan an alternative plan makes the lesson go time you are ready to pull your hair out in Websites crash, devices fail and the much smoother. frustration, maybe you need to find a difschool network sometimes goes down. ferent approach. When this happens, do In all of these cases, you need an alter- Don’t bail not swear off technology. Keep working The difference between the lesson you to find something that works for you, and native way for students to achieve the n lesson goal you have planned. I know the envision and reality in the classroom can more importantly your students.
Starting Point Websites
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• A fully accredited, fully online program, housed in a major regional state university. • Courses are designed for K-12 language arts teachers working full-time. • Degree can be completed in two years including summers. • Course content covers all major subfields in English studies.
Application deadline for Fall 2014 is July 15. For more informaiton, visit: www.valdosta.edu/maeslat May/June 2014
PAGE One 27
Teaching Introverts (Nearly Half of Us!) in an Extroverted World
Allowing for Solitude and Contemplation Helps Sensory-Charged Students Shine
he New York Times bestseller “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” has many educators thinking about ways to maximize learning among students who are less inclined to speak their minds or to assume leadership roles. Susan Cain, author of the well-researched book, says that nearly half of us are introverts—people who tend to live in a world of ideas and who are prone to sensory overload. Her advice to educators is to help your less-gregarious students find their niche. Introverts (not to be confused with shyness, which is more of a social fear) tend to be highly passionate about pursing one or two interests. They often work well alone or in small groups, as opposed to in teams. An introvert “recharges her batteries by being alone and is most energized with working or learning in an environment with less stimulation, social or otherwise,” noted Education Week in a May 2012 article about Cain’s book. “I actually think our [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] shortages are a cultural problem as much as a pedagogical problem; the type of kid who likes to sit by himself and do math problems or science problems is not supported,” Cain told Education Week.
An introvert ‘recharges her batteries by being alone and is most energized with working or learning in an environment with less stimulation, social or otherwise.’ 28 PAGE One
For more insight on the topic, PAGE One turned to Milton West, Ed.D., lead psychologist for the Harris County School District. Below, West fields our questions drawn from ideas presented in “Quiet.” PAGE One: 1/3 to 1/2 of us
are introverts, but many schools are designed for extroverts. Cain encourages us to celebrate introverts and not view them as people who need to be fixed. Afterall, we have introverts to thank for big creative breakthroughs, from the theory of relativity to the Harry Potter books. Plus, research shows that you don’t need to be an extrovert to be happy or successful. West: There is a bias that favors the extroverts in our society. On the other hand, introverts, in addition to bringing big ideas into being, can also foster long-lasting transformation in organizations by working quietly and effectively behind the scenes in ways that draw attention more to their ideas than to themselves. PAGE One: Introverts tend to be slower to respond because they’re thinking deeply and making a lot of connections in their brains. They tend to work intensely. One recommendation is to wait a few minutes after asking questions to give introverts time to think and encourage reflectiveness. West: Teachers who use rapid-fire Socratic questioning methods that allow little time for reflection often fail to give students time to consider their answers. Waiting five minutes or longer for a response is an excellent approach that benefits all students, regardless of their place on the extroversion-introversion continuum. Many students exhibit impulsive behaviors that can lead to poorly formed responses resulting in poor academic performance on classroom assessments. PAGE One: Introverts tend to be highly sensitive. They take in more of the world around them. They experience information overload easily. West: Children who tend toward introversion are simply wired differently than those with the characteristics of extroversion. All students benefit when they are encouraged by teachers to engage in higher-order thinking by limiting the amount of information to be May/June 2014
learned to manageable amounts during the course of instruction. Many introverted students may withdraw further into themselves when faced with too much information, while extroverted children may overreact when over exposed. PAGE One: Some children like to work autonomously and socialize one on one. There’s nothing sacrosanct about learning in large group classroom. We organize students this way because it’s cost efficient. West: The work world places high value on working groups and leadership teams. Working in relative solitude does not imply that a student is lonely, lacking adequate socialization skills or has poor leadership potential. Tending toward introversion is not a character flaw. Allowing for individual differences by permitting solitary work habits in the classroom is a best practice.
‘I actually think our [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] shortages are a cultural problem as much as a pedagogical problem; the type of kid who likes to sit by himself and do math problems or science problems is not supported.’ — ‘Quiet’ author Susan Cain in Education Week Some children perform better working autonomously than in large or even small groups. Children who tend toward introversion can add immeasurably to an organization even when working in teams. Allowing them to self-select a role that suits their temperament can enhance the productivity of working groups by allowing some measure of autonomy in n the process.
Milton West, Ed.D., is the lead psychologist for the Harris County School District. Previously, he was a school psychologist in Muscogee County and director of special education in Union City schools. He also served on the faculties at the University of Phoenix and Samford University.
2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists Named
ongratulations to the 10 finalists for the 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year. The finalists were chosen from among 156 applicants. Selections were made based on the strength of essay responses. The judges include current and former classroom teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administra-
tors and community leaders, says State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. The 2015 Georgia Teacher of the Year will serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession and will be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition. The finalists are as follows:
Rita L. Simmons Gifted K-5 Atlanta Public Schools Cleveland Avenue Elementary School
Nick C. Crowder Engineering Education Forsyth County Schools South Forsyth High School
Rhonda Lokey Sixth Grade Social Studies Cobb County Schools Campbell Middle School
Hyunjin Son Physics and Foundations of Engineering & Technology Gwinnett County Schools, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology
Dr. Lyn Schenbeck Film/Video Music, Business in Arts, Music in Medicine, String and Vocals Coweta County Schools Central Educational Center
Paul D. Mixon Journalism and Economics Heard County Schools Heard County High School
Michelle Peace Spanish I, II, III Early County Schools Early County High School Sarah Ballew Welch English, Oral/Written Communications and British Literature Fannin County Schools Fannin County High School May/June 2014
Amanda Miliner 4th Grade Houston County Schools Miller Elementary School Marc Pedersen Biology, Biotechnology and Chemistry Paulding County Schools Paulding County High School
PAGE One 29
Students’ Free Speech Is Balanced Against the Authority to Maintain School Order By Leonard D. Williams, PAGE Staff Attorney
or nearly a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that students do not lose their constitutional rights to free speech in the public school setting. However, those rights are not absolute; they’re balanced against the authority and duty of public school officials to maintain order at their schools. While it’s not always easy to determine what kinds of speech are permissible, there is some guidance that may assist. Much of what is known about the regulation of students’ speech arises from a couple of U.S. Supreme Court cases. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a case that involved students who wore black armbands to school to protest the war in Vietnam, the court ruled that a school may restrict speech only if it reasonably believes it “would substantially interfere with the work of the school or impinge upon the rights of other students.” In Morse v. Frederick, a case in which a student, along with others, stood across the street from his school and unfurled a banner that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” at a school-sanctioned and school-supervised event, the court found that school officials may prohibit student speech when it can be reasonably construed as promoting illegal activities. The rule is that a school system may discipline a student for his speech only if it reasonably concludes that it would substantially
A school system may discipline a student for his speech only if it reasonably concludes that it would substantially interfere with the school operations or violate the rights of others.
30 PAGE One
interfere with school operations or violate the rights of others. The key word in the previous sentence is “substantially.” A desire to avoid controversy, inconvenience or annoyance is not enough to overcome a student’s right to freedom of expression. A showing of the likelihood of dangerous or illegal action may be necessary. If confronted with a student’s speech issue, a public school official should not make any rash decisions. The first thing they should do is consult the superintendent or school board attorney. Counsel should be involved as early in the process as possible. If a determination is made that the student’s speech is not protected by the First Amendment (ie: credible threats of violence against students or staff), the official may discipline the student in accordance with the district’s student code of conduct. If the student’s speech is covered by the First Amendment, or if it’s unclear as to whether or not it’s protected speech, there are other alternatives that may be available to reach a resolution. The official could ask the student to voluntarily refrain from the activity. He may consent to or deny this request. If that doesn’t work, the school official could try to reason with the parent or legal guardian and ask them to tell the student to refrain from the activity. Similarly, they may consent to or deny this request. The district could also bargain with the student. If the student wants something, within reason, in exchange for voluntarily refraining from the speech, the district could explore resolving the matter that way. Individuals who are the targets of or adversely affected by the speech may also have civil or criminal remedies available to them. For questions about this or any other legal issue, please contact the PAGE Legal n Department. May/June 2014
Jemelleh Coes, Langston Chapel Middle School, Statesboro, GA
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The Next PAGE stories include: • PAGE member and PAGE Foundation Trustee Dr. Michele Taylor named 2014 Georgia Superintendent of the Year • Principals involved in the PAGE Principal Leadership Network took a look at the future at Georgia Tech’s Robotics Institute • Tapping the power of educators that choose to vote Access “The Next PAGE” by going to pageinc.org/ associations/9445/pagetv/?page=891&tab=1 or scanning this QR code.
Currently featured on PAGE TV: • FEA Today highlights the 2014 FEA Spring Training—or FEAST • 2014 PAGE STAR Banquet Report (in Breaking News section)
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 TBA District 3 District 10 Allison Scenna 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
32 PAGE One
Fancy Nancy Visits Fairyland To celebrate Nancy Burton’s 47 years of teaching, PAGE Membership Representative Nancy Ratcliffe— dressed in her finest finery—visited Fairyland Elementary School in Walker County to read to Ms. Burton’s Pre-K students. Her book choice? “Fancy Nancy” of course! The kids thought the celebration was stupendous. (That’s a fancy word for great.)
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; email@example.com, 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 class non-profit 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
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