PAGE One Magazine, May-June 2016

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May/June 2016




Nourishing Student Minds and Bodies

An ‘A’ for Advocacy | Growing Georgia’s Teachers | 2016 STAR Students and Teachers

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Contents May/June 2016

Vol. 37 No. 5



06  Farm to School

More than 1,600 schools in Georgia are working with local food producers to feed students’ bodies and minds

18  Growing Georgia’s Teachers

PAGE primes the teacher pipeline throughout Georgia

Lunch served at Burke County Middle School during First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit in April. Everything was local but the oranges. The photo was tweeted by the Let’s Move campaign and retweeted by the White House.



4  From the President Biology Has Been Secondary to the Life Skills I Have Worked to Impart

Legislative 12  Educator Advocacy: Your Voice Makes All the Difference

Achievements 26  A Night Among the STARs at the 2016 State PAGE STAR Banquet

5  From the Executive Director Advocacy Results in Positive Testing and Educator Evaluation Reform

14  PAGE Legislative Summary: 2016 Best in Recent Memory for Education

30 Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School Wins Sixth GAD State Championship


Professional Learning 20  Engaging the Next Generation With Digital Tools 22  Principals and Teachers Share Blueprints for Designing Engaging Work News and Information 24  The Facts About An Opportunity School District


12 PAGE One Official Publication of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Providing professional learning for educators to enhance professional competence, confidence and leadership skills, leading to higher academic achievement for students, while providing the best in membership, legal services and legislative support. May/June 2016



Editor Craig Harper

President Larry Lebovitz

Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta

Associate Editor Meg Thornton

Publisher John Hanna

Production Coordinator Megan Willis

Contributing Editor Lynn Varner

Editor Lindsay Penticuff

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

Associate Editor Megan Thornton


From the President

Biology Has Been Secondary to the Life Skills I Have Worked to Impart Stephanie Davis Howard


I hope that educators will continue to be catalysts for positive change and work to retain our place as true professionals.


s I end this year as state president of PAGE, I’ve been reflecting on my 33-year educational career. My dedication to service has been shaped by many factors: faith, family, friends and my professional experiences in the military and education. I am grateful to have served two generations of students. I hope that the biology they gleaned from my classroom is secondary to the following life skills I tried to impart: •  Confidence, self-respect and respect for others. (Integrity and honesty are the foundation of success.) •  Personal responsibility and accountability. •  Commitment to family. (We must model this important duty.) •  Active citizenship in the community. •  An attitude of acceptance rather than mere tolerance. (We encourage our students to think of themselves as global citizens, despite the campaign rhetoric that has brought the worst out in some of our nation’s populace.) •  Environmental stewardship. (We understand our place in the world through caring for resources.) •  An awareness of a higher power from which we draw our inherent sense of decency. (I often share with my students my family’s mantra: “Be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”)

I am grateful to have served my country and to have instilled a sense of duty in others. I commend all educators, but I have a special place in my heart for military personnel who have transitioned into public education. I especially thank all of the JROTC instructors. Because of them, thousands of Georgia students have embraced the values of respect, honor and duty, and they have become productive citizens and leaders. I am grateful for the educators who speak out on behalf of our profession. We encourage our students to take initiative, be risk-takers and strive for their potential, but we sometimes accept “change” initiated on our behalf by federal, state and local entities. When a policy shift occurs, our districts respond by tirelessly developing strategic plans and training/retraining staff. However, a paradigm shift has occurred in recent years: Increasingly, educators want to be involved in the development of policies and programs that affect their relationship with their charges. In this way, educators are investing in their craft and livelihood, rather than taking a reactionary approach. I hope that educators will continue to be catalysts for positive change and work to retain our place as true professionals. As I move into the next phase of my life, it is my prayer that my former students practice the skills and values learned in their youth: respect, integrity, duty to others, stewardship, n virtue, acceptance and a little biology.

May/June 2016

From the Executive Director

Advocacy Results in Positive Testing and Educator Evaluation Reform Dr. Allene Magill


ducators across Georgia celebrated the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 364 in the Senate and House this legislative session, which ended March 24. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), provides important relief on testing and educator evaluation requirements, including reducing the percentage of student growth measures on evaluations from 50 to 30 percent for teachers and 70 to 40 percent for leaders. Further, student measures will not be utilized for evaluations unless students are in attendance for 90 percent of a teacher’s course. The bill also reduces the number of required tests from 32 to 24 during a student’s K-12 academic experience. These hard-fought reforms came about through grassroots advocacy by educators, parents and the face-to-face initiative of legislative affairs staff on behalf of PAGE members and other education associations. I commend PAGE legislative affairs staff members Margaret Ciccarelli and Josh Stephens — your representatives at the Capitol — for their leadership and daily efforts with legislators. Unless you have experienced the daily grind of tracking legislation, keeping up with ever-changing committee hearing times and locations, and schedules that don’t follow a traditional work day, it’s hard to truly appreciate what being an advocate at the Capitol is really like. Margaret’s and Josh’s “Report from the Capitol” emails throughout

May/June 2016

the session kept our members informed and engaged, and you were engaged. Legislators reported to us that your calls, emails and direct communication at home made a difference. PAGE thanks you for your effort, and I also ask that you reach out and thank your legislators for supporting public educators in Georgia. I encourage you to read Josh’s report about this session on Page 12 of this issue. PAGE REMAINS COMMITTED

PAGE commits time and resources to the professional development of teachers and leaders through several initiatives. The capacity-building activities range from leadership networks for assistant principals and principals, to regional professional learning groups in south Georgia and the High School Redesign Initiative in several districts across the state. PAGE commissioned a universityled, research-based study of the effect of professional learning work on the outcomes for students, teachers and schools. The effort, called the Impact Study, validated the importance of engaging in well-designed, collaborative professional learning that is sustained over time. I encourage you to read the introduction executive summary and report by going to and looking for the link to the study. I am proud of the work PAGE does to increase the capacity of Georgia’s teachers and leaders to continuously improve the

quality of work provided to students so that they can experience profound learning. GROWTH CONTINUES

PAGE continues to grow this year thanks to the continued support of current members and their positive referrals, as well as the excellent services PAGE provides through our membership services representatives, advocacy, legal and professional learning support. Typically, membership levels off after the beginning of the school year. However, PAGE membership continues to grow through the active professional recruitment within schools and student recruitment at college and high school events. Our membership growth demonstrates the value of our organization to the majority of educators in Georgia and our connection with people at all levels of public education in every sector of our state. Thank you for helping us become a stronger and more vital partner for you and for public education.


The myth of the traditional summer break for educators lives on despite what we know about what teachers and leaders must do between school years just to keep up with changes in standards, content and school expectations. My wish for you this summer is that you will find time to relax, reconnect with cherished friends and family, and learn new things that will help you experience success in the next school year. n


Farm to School

More than 1,600 schools in Georgia are working with local food producers to feed students’ bodies and minds By Christine Van Dusen


tudents would scrunch up their faces at the thought of collard greens, pushing away their trays. Never mind eating local or combatting childhood obesity — pass the french fries. So Burke County Public Schools, via its Farm to School program, worked with local farmer Pete Jackson to come up with an elegant solution: cultivating a collard green that was less bitter in taste. Suddenly, the collard greens were no longer vilified in the cafeteria and greens consumption nearly doubled in the 4,400-student district in Waynesboro. Oh, and a few days each week, instead of fries, the district serves roasted red ranch potatoes purchased from a local grower. “Students like these potatoes better than the fries,” says Brianna Dumas, the Early Head Start, Wellness and Farm to School Dietitian with Burke County Public Schools.

This is just an example of how the Farm to School program is changing the way students eat and think about healthy food. The decades-old national program, which started with just a few schools, now connects more than 42,000 schools with local food producers. “Farm to School is a win for kids, a win for farmers and a win for communities,” says Stacey Malstrom, communications director for the National Farm to School Network, which reported a 430 percent increase in the number of programs nationwide between 2006 and 2012. The program is growing in Georgia, too; after all, agribusiness is the state’s largest industry. More than 1,600 schools and 93 districts in Georgia are working with local food producers to integrate agriculture into the curriculum in ways large and small, expected and unexpected, inside and outside of the classroom. From tiny raisedbed gardens and cafeteria salad bars, to

adventurous taste tests, advanced aquaponics, farming-related math problems and traveling greenhouses, educators are using fresh food to feed students’ bodies and minds. “The beauty of Farm to School is that there is no one way to do it; you’ll see variations in each district,” Dumas says. “Farm to School can mean serving it in your lunches, having school gardens, bringing local farmers into a classroom or even just promoting what agriculture means to Georgia.” The need for these programs is crucial, educators and health experts say. Georgia ranks 17th for obese children ages 10 through high school age, according to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. However, as students learn to appreciate the healthy fruits and vegetables they may not see at home, they learn better eating habits, which can help curb the growing obesity problem in Georgia, reports the Georgia Department of Education.



May/June 2016

ift County Schools ripped the roof off an old school bus and turned it into a rolling classroom, farm and greenhouse. ‘Our motto is ‘dirt to plate.’’

to bid. It wasn’t long before I was reaching out to farmers. The Farm to School idea was new to both parties, but that did not stop us from jumping straight in.” In its first program year, the dis— Craig Matthews, Coordinator trict served local mini cherry tomaof the Tift County Schools Career, toes, watermelon, cantaloupe, brocTechnology and Agriculture coli and more. “There is not much Education program better than eating a piece of produce that was harvested that very morning,” Dumas says. “We knew we were on to something, right off the bat. Word spread like wildfire, and before percent increase over the 2011-12 school we knew it, calls from farmers across the year. Georgia schools, meanwhile, have state were coming in.” grown their investment in local food to By 2015, the district was putting $50,000 about $40 million, according to Georgia back into the economy by paying local Organics. farmers. Here, we take a look at a few districts Now, the Burke County school system that are active in Farm to School and share integrates local produce into its school their experiences — experiences that can lunch menu at least three times a week. help guide other educators who want to It also hosts a bi-monthly farmers successfully develop, launch and expand similar programs.


Burke County Schools

When Burke County Public Schools puts a new vegetable on its menus, local grocery stores get a heads-up and they know what to do: stock up on that veggie, and fast. “Stores otherwise were selling out of the same products when kids asked for it at home,” Malstrom says. “Kids are asking their families to make healthier choices.” The district started small, in 2014, with School Nutrition Director Donna S. Martin dabbling in Farm to School by purchasing a few items for the cafeterias. “It was her hope to grow the program, and when I came on board in July of 2014, I wanted to do just the same,” Dumas says. “I began first with the logistical things: policy and procedure, researching other programs in the U.S., marketing, learning how


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Studies show that Farm to School programs not only improve childhood eating behaviors, but also increase knowledge about gardening and agriculture, open minds about new and healthier foods, and enhance overall academic achievement. In addition, the programs can motivate more families to sign their children up for school meals programs, which brings more revenue to school districts while improving food service staff morale by placing a greater premium on the good work they can do. Another benefit? More students get inspired to become farmers themselves, and local growers — part of an industry that contributes more than $74 billion to the state’s economy every year — get more dollars. “The average age of farmers in our country is near retirement, and there are lots of concerns that our farmers will die off and not be replaced,” says Emily Cumbie-Drake, the Farm to School director for Georgia Organics. “Programs like Farm to School can build interest and show that there are opportunities for young people to go into farming. We want students to understand that farming isn’t just about mono-cropping cotton in south Georgia. It can be urban farming in metro Atlanta on two acres of land. It’s a potential livelihood for students, and the fact that they have the opportunity to develop those skills and interests as part of their K-12 experience is a really positive thing.” Nationwide, schools invested $789 million in their communities by buying food from local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and other producers during the 2013-14 year, according to the USDA. That’s a 105



1. Burke County farmer Pete Jackson (center) cultivated a less-bitter collard green that is a hit with local school kids. He is flanked by Nutrition Director Donna Martin (left) and Dietitian Brianna Dumas. 2. Burke’s Farm to School program achieved recognition of the highest order in April when First Lady Michelle Obama — America’s gardener in chief — visited Burke County MS as the first stop on her American Garden Tour. 3. (l-r) Rep. Rick Allen, Donna Martin, Brianna Dumas, State Superintendent Richard Woods, Burke Superintendent Rudy Falana and Blakeney ES Principal Dr. Earl Ishmal at the Feed My School kickoff event.

May/June 2016



o ensure success, we strongly advise folks who want to start or grow their Farm to School efforts to build a diverse team of stakeholders. When people understand how Farm to School can enhance their goals, things start clicking for the whole school community.’

market at the high school, Vanessa Hayes — the caters events, promotes Georgia School Nutrition Farm to School activities Association president — to via social media and advoapply for a USDA Farm to cates for the program in School Grant for fiscal year Washington, D.C. Moreover, 2015. students have participated The district won the in scores of food-related grant, and in doing so was activities, including a “Salad able to establish raised-bed Showdown,” and they are gardens at nine of its 14 — Stacey Malstrom, Communications Director writing a cookbook incorschools, which are used as a for the National Farm to School Network porating foods they harvest tool to teach other lessons in at school. And this year the the curriculum. district added gardens that “We teach them about incorporate science, technology, engineersoils and the basics of fertilizers,” Al Roker was also on hand. ing and math (STEM) learning. Matthews says. “Teachers are bringing it “I’m proud of the work you’re doing,” “Academics isn’t just math and science into the curriculum. Elementary students Obama told the sixth-graders, who joined alone; farming is a science,” says Chip learn that they have a four-foot-by-fourher in planting cucumbers and peppers. Bridges, state program manager of agriculfoot garden and need to figure out how ture education for the Georgia Department Tift County Schools many plants can go in and how many Ripping the roof off of a school bus of Education. For instance, when students rows they can make. They’re learning might seem a needlessly destructive thing learn to grow tomatoes, they also analyze math skills.” to do, but when Tift County Schools eduweather forecasts, research healthy fertilizThe grant money was also used to irricators did it, they had a plan: turn the bus ers and study how plants use photosynthegate the school farm and to renovate the sis to grow. “What’s more, students who eat into a rolling classroom, farm and greendistrict’s canning plant so it can preserve house. more fresh fruits and vegetables enter the local tomatoes. And then there’s the school This was just part of a multi-layered classroom better prepared to learn,” states bus, which at press time was being painted. plan, hatched in 2013, for creating a the Georgia Department of Education It will soon travel school-to-school to serve robust Farm to School program in the website. as a learning lab. south Georgia rural district. The school In April of this year, Burke County’s “Students can come in and plant somesystem already had a strong connection comprehensive Farm to School program thing by seed or transplant something,” to agriculture, with its 15-acre school achieved recognition of the highest order Matthews says. “Our motto is ‘dirt to plate.’” farm, where high school agriculture when First Lady Michelle Obama — Tift County Schools is now in the prostudents could plant crops. But educaAmerica’s gardener in chief — visited cess of applying for another grant, this time Burke County Middle School as part of her tors in the district wanted to do more to to fund efforts to bring local produce into acquaint kids of all ages with local food, American Garden Tour. NBC weatherman the cafeterias on a regular basis. The system so Career, Technology and Agriculture is already conducting taste tests with local Education Coordinator Craig Matthews foods. paired up with Nutrition Director “Kids are really learning about where their food comes from and why it’s important,” says Matthews.

Decatur City and DeKalb

Many parents in the City Schools of Decatur will be quick to say they take little credit for the fact that their kids will, on



May/June 2016


occasion, eat a fresh vegetable. They’ll tell you the recognition for that feat belongs to the district, which in 2010 became the first in the state to create a comprehensive Farm to School program. Coordinated by the City of Decatur’s Wylde Center, formerly known as Oakhurst Community Garden, the program was implemented district-wide to focus on the four Cs: cafeteria (buying local food), classroom (connecting the curriculum), culinary (getting hands-on with food) and community (field trips and the like). As of the 2014-15 school year, all nine schools in the system had their own edible school gardens, with students planting seeds, watering crops and helping with harvests. More than 60 standards-based Farm to School lessons were also taught. “Gardens are definitely a strong trend,” Malstrom says. “Gardens are among the easiest activities to start, build broad support for and integrate into the curriculum. This trend is also influenced by a broader cultural trend toward gardening, the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiatives and broad interest in local food.” DeKalb Public School’s McNair Discovery Learning Academy, has received attention for its aquaponics program, which has students tending to a tank of bluegill and tilapia fish. The fish fertilize a tray of plants that grow in water instead of soil.

More Farm to School

•  In Morgan County Schools, the district switched to a local provider that buys produce from local sources and distributes it to the schools. “Morgan County students will be dining on produce that is both locally grown and less expensive,” says Morgan County Schools Nutrition Director Phyllis Martin. The produce may be healthier, too. Foods grown to be shipped are picked before they are ripe and treated with chemicals, so over the miles they lose crispness, flavor and nutrients. •  The Bibb County School District offered fresh Georgia produce more than 40 times during the 2014-15 school year, and 90 percent of the lunch menu items during Feed My School for a Week were grown or produced in Georgia. Students also held a Farm to School parade, art and essay contests, and culinary competitions. •  Among Atlanta Public Schools, 44 have edible gardens, ranging from rooftop

gardens with raised beds, to potted edible plants, fruit tree orchards and a greenhouse. •  In Carrollton City Schools, nearly 2,400 meals with locally grown ingredients were served every day last year. •  The 12 gardens at Cobb County


Continued on page 11

Tap into Networks and Community to Grow Your Farm to School Program Although a Farm to School program can pay off handsomely in diverse ways, initially setting up a program can be challenging, says Brianna Dumas, the Early Head Start, Wellness and Farm to School Dietitian with Burke County Public Schools. “For most districts and farmers, this is uncharted territory. There is a huge gray area of how we do things and how they do things.” But there are many support organizations to help schools along the path, adds Stacey Malstrom, communications director for the National Farm to School Network. These include the state and regional branches of the National Farm to School Network, FoodCorps, AmeriCorps Farm to School and USDA Farm to School. Moreover, she says states are increasingly adding grant programs, pilot programs or additional meal reimbursement incentives to encourage local purchasing and help bridge the funding gap. Malstrom adds that one of the biggest challenges is getting buy-in from all of the stakeholders in a child’s life — from school administrators,

May/June 2016

to teachers, parents, nutrition directors and everyone else in that decision-making chain. “To ensure success, we strongly advise folks who want to start or grow their Farm to School efforts to build a diverse team of stakeholders,” she says. “When people understand how Farm to School can enhance their goals, things start clicking for the whole school community.” Farm to School Resources: •  Georgia Organics, •  National Farm to School Network, •  Georgia Agricultural Education, •  Georgia Department of Education Farm to School Handbook, •  Georgia Feed My School, •  Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, •  Community Alliance with Family Farmers (Field Guide for Food Service Directors),


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Burke Nutrition Director to Lead National Academy

David Steinbridge, The True Citizen

School District’s Big Shanty Burke County Public “I’m also incredibly Intermediate School (third Schools Nutrition Director proud of our farm to school through fifth grade) include Donna Martin has been program that provides a sensory garden that enables named president-elect of the farm fresh produce to our special needs students to pracAcademy of Nutrition and students,” Martin told the tice self-regulation and outdoor Dietetics, the nation’s largcommittee. By using locally living through gardening, while est organization of food and produced fruits and vegbuilding self-confidence as they nutrition professionals. etables, student consumpwatch their garden grow. A Martin says she is honored tion rates for those items perimeter garden helps prevent to lead the academy. “We doubled, she said. Serving water retention on the playare a driving force of profesin-season fruits and vegetaground and “No Idling” signs sionals tasked with creatbles have also helped keep Birmingham, the University discourage air pollution. ing a future for our public her district’s food program of Georgia and Augusta •  In the Newton health.” fiscally sound, she added. State University. She recently County Schools, Mansfield Last summer, Martin Martin is a graduate of completed a three-year term testified before the U.S. the University of Alabama at on the board of the School Elementary students waited House Education and Nutrition Foundation. patiently to harvest their late Workforce Committee. fall crops of cabbage, mustard She shared information Above: Donna Martin greens and broccoli. Chef about the creative and (third from left) told a Andrew Featherstone from U.S. House committee proven ways schools in Burge Plantation then delightabout Burke County’s her mostly rural school ed them with a presentation success in incorporating district have been able of their bounty. He spoke to local produce into school to maintain a lunch them about filling their bodcafeterias. Left: Martin participation rate of 89 ies with natural sugars from (right) welcomed First percent and a breakLady Michelle Obama to fruits and vegetables and fast participation rate Burke County MS in April. the importance of avoiding of 78 percent. foods labeled with ingredients that they can’t pronounce. Afterward, students enjoyed apple slaw and edible cabStudents partner with Dalton State College in milk cartons. bage bowls with beets, carrots and squash to trap, weigh, mark and release turtles in a •  Savannah-Chatham County Schools shaped like a chick in a nest. local pond. They also work with Tennessee has 17 edible gardens and regularly •  At Gwinnett County’s Mason Aquarium and the University of Georgia integrate Farm to School into standardsElementary, about 80 perent of the fresh to track migration and count parasites on based lessons. High schoolers use the produce is from local farmers. A third Monarch butterflies. school’s compost bin to examine how of Mason’s grounds are devoted to out•  Last school year, the Bleckley County organisms depend on one another and door learning and the entire landscape is School District served local food 160 times the environment. water-efficient and regionally appropriand each day baked homemade whole •  In the Clarke County School District, ate. Students engaged in STEM learning grain yeast rolls made from locally grown every school has a garden, the cafeterias resulted in the design and installation of and milled flour. feature local produce every week, schools an erosion-resistant terrace. The No Idling •  The Decatur County School District hosted 27 garden workdays and the system program is promoted in bus and car lines. has edible gardens and incorporates Farm partnered with University of Georgia gar•  Dalton City School’s STEM-certified to School into their standard lessons, with dening students, the State Botanical Garden Brookwood Elementary has a year-round Bainbridge Middle School students creating and other community groups. garden and a focus on sustainability. hydroponic systems to grow collard greens “Educators are beginning to see Farm to School not as an additional component to the curKids Learn that Food Doesn’t Just ‘Magically Appear’ riculum, but actually a lens through which all of their “Growing up on a family farm cultivated by generations of my family, I underother teaching strategies stood early where the food on our kitchen table came from and what it took to get it there. Today’s fast-food culture has erased that connection for young are enhanced,” concludes people. This is why the Farm to School program is so valuable. It helps boys the Georgia DOE’s Bridges. and girls understand that the things they eat and wear don’t just magically “Food is a tool to engage appear on store shelves.” students.” Says Malstrom: “This – Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), Chairman of the Georgia House work is not just about feedAppropriations Committee and Member of the Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee and the Education Committee. ing kids healthy food — the n benefits ripple out.” May/June 2016



Educator Advocacy:

Your Voice Makes All the Difference! By Josh Stephens, PAGE Legislative Policy Analyst


magine yourself in the shoes of your legislators. Throughout the course of a 40-day legislative session and beyond, scores of people contact you each day — constituents, other legislators, lobbyists and other advocates — about a wide variety of policy issues. Now, imagine receiving thousands of emails and phone calls in the course of a week in strong support of a bill that would reduce the amount of mandated standardized testing throughout the state and decrease the emphasis of standardized test scores in teacher and administrator evaluations. That would, without a doubt, have a huge impact on how you vote on that bill. That’s exactly what you all — our members — helped accomplish during the 2016 session of the Georgia

General Assembly. By reaching out to your legislators on a consistent basis and partnering with PAGE’s messaging about Senate Bill 364 with your personal experiences in the classroom, your voice was heard loud and clear. On several occasions throughout the session, Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), chairman of the Senate Education and Youth Committee, and Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), chairman of the House Education Committee, mentioned the impact that your calls and emails were making on crafting the bill and ensuring its advancement through the legislative process. In December, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, the latest iteration of federal education legislation. The bill

passed both the U.S. House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support from the Georgia congressional delegation with only two dissenting votes in the House. Due to a growing national debate about the proper use for and amount of student testing, Congress listened, and this new law began the process of decreasing emphasis on standardized tests. Since 2013, when House Bill 244 — the bill creating the TKES and LKES systems used by local districts to evaluate teachers and administrators — was signed into law, PAGE has raised concerns with the amount of standardized testing taking place in the classroom and the over-emphasis of standardized test scores in educator evaluations. For the past three years, PAGE’s top legislative

2016 PAGE and GAEL Day on Capitol Hill


May/June 2016

priority has been to reduce the negative impact of an over-reliance on testing. PAGE based this legislative position on trends shown in data collected from our annual education policy surveys of PAGE membership completed by more than 4,000 Georgia educators each year. As the debate regarding the proper use of student testing intensified, the Georgia Department of Education conducted a survey of more than 53,000 educators to develop a better understanding of why the attrition rate of Georgia teachers is so high and why 44 percent of new teachers leave the classroom by their fifth year. The top reason the respondents gave for the rising attrition rate was the number of state-mandated tests, with the method for evaluating teachers a close second. Based on this information, State School Superintendent Richard Woods gave his full support to comprehensive reform of Georgia’s standardized testing and educator evaluation programs. Sen. Tippins introduced SB 364 with the intention to do just what Superintendent Woods, PAGE and other stakeholders had requested with increas-

May/June 2016

ing urgency. Once a draft of the bill was formally introduced, PAGE sprung into action through the use of email blasts, conversations in schools, PAGE One magazine and our social media channels. PAGE members were asked to contact legislators several times over the course of the legislative session, and you did that and more. We also had a strong showing at the 2016 PAGE/Georgia Association of Educational Leaders Day on Capitol Hill in February, when hundreds of educators met with legislators on the ropes of the House and Senate chambers under the Gold Dome to advocate for SB 364. We coupled the support of our membership with a unified message from PAGE and every major statewide education organization, including groups representing teachers, administrators, superintendents, school boards and the Georgia Parent Teacher Association. The joint letter of support, signed by all of the education groups, was delivered to House Education Committee members and placed by legislative leaders on the desk of each House member on the day the bill was up for a vote in the House.

As it did on the Senate floor, SB 364 received unanimous approval in the House. It went back to the Senate, which approved the House changes to the bill before sending the legislation to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. Advocacy for SB 364 resulted in overwhelming bipartisan support, an unusual outcome in today’s hyper-partisan, contentious political climate. If you haven’t done so, visit our website at and sign up for our legislative reports and follow us on social media in order to stay up to date on legislative issues throughout the year. By utilizing the voices of our members and other partners, PAGE will continue to proactively work toward reforms supporting high-quality public schools in Georgia, especially with elections later this year and leading into 2017, when education will be a key feature of the legn islative session.


Legislative PAGE Legislative Summary:

2016 Best in Recent Memory for Education By Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Services


he 2016 Georgia legislative session was the best in recent history for public schools. Election-year politics, increasingly effective advocacy by school supporters and a strengthening economy contributed to bipartisan support for Georgia students and educators under the Gold Dome. Below is a summary of education-related legislation that passed during the 2016 Georgia General Assembly.


In the wake of U.S. Congressional passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, state policymakers moved to approve critical student testing and educator evaluation reform, Senate Bill 364, sponsored by Senate Education and Youth Committee Chair Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta). The legislation reduces the number of student-mandated tests from 32 to 24 by eliminating Georgia Milestones testing in science and social studies in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7. SB 364 requires local school districts to administer, subject to state funding, math and reading formative assessments in grades 1 and 2, and it requires state-mandated assessments to be verified for reliability and validity by a nationally recognized, research based, third-party evaluator. Current law requires that students be enrolled in their teacher’s class for 65 percent of the term in order for their test scores to count toward their teacher’s evaluation. SB 364 increases this requirement substantially, mandating that students must attend an educator’s class for 90 percent of the term in order for their test scores to count toward their teacher’s evaluation. SB 364 also strongly encourages schools to push the testing administration window to the end of the term.


SB 364 de-emphasizes the testing component of teacher and leader performance evaluations by reducing this component from 50 to 30 percent for teacher evaluations and from 70 to 40 percent for principal and assistant principal evaluations. Professional growth will comprise 20 percent of teacher evaluations and that growth will be measured by progress toward or attainment of professional growth goals within the school year or across multiple school years. Teacher professional growth goals may include measurements based on multiple student growth indicators, evaluations and observations, standards of practice and other measures. The remaining 50 percent of teacher evaluations will continue to be comprised of classroom observation. In the case of school leader performance assessments, school climate will count toward 10 percent of the evaluation and a combination of achievement gap closure. Beat the Odds and College and Career Readiness Performance Index data will count toward 20 percent of the evaluation. Observation of principals and assistant principals will comprise the remaining 30 percent of an annual evaluation. SB 364 makes clear that all educators will be evaluated on their own merits and that neither local school districts, nor the state, will enforce performance evaluation quotas. The legislation extends the five-day deadline by which the results of observations and evaluations must be made available to educators being evaluated to 10 days. SB 364 also allows school districts to develop tiered observation systems and to conduct observations of veteran, high-performing educators less frequently if the districts so choose.


The fiscal year 2017 state budget contains formulaic increases for both student enrollment and educator training and experience. It also contains $300 million intended to minimize the ongoing austerity reduction to Georgia’s Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula. The FY17 partial austerity restoration leaves approximately $166 million in ongoing austerity cuts, and local school districts will receive their share of the $300 million based on student enrollment. Policymakers said during the legislative session that they intend for local districts to use the partial austerity restoration to end educator furloughs and increase educator pay by 3 percent. However, because the funding was not an enhancement to the state teacher salary schedule, individual districts will have the legal authority to use the funding flexibly based on local district priorities. Most local districts will end employee furloughs and many will pass along some pay raises to educators, though not all districts can afford to end all remaining furlough days and initiate a 3 percent pay raise. The FY17 budget also contains statefunded teacher liability insurance. The cost of this item is not included in the budget, and budgetary language indicates only that the state will “utilize existing funds for the Educators Professional Liability Insurance Program.” The state provided state-funded teacher liability insurance in the past, but no claims were ever filed under the previous program so it was phased out. In large part, no claim was filed because the legal issues most frequently encountered by educators relate to employment disputes with their local school districts and certification problems with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. May/June 2016


•  House Bill 65 by Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) requires local school districts and charter schools to hold two open meetings regarding their proposed budgets and to post their budgets electronically. •  HB 100 by Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta) originally sought to change Georgia’s kindergarten age requirement. The bill languished until late in the 2016 session, when its sponsor stripped it of all its original language and used it as a vehicle to require local districts that operate virtual schools in which students from outside the district are enrolled to use at least 90 percent of the state funds earned for those students on the virtual instruction program. •  HB 614 by Rep. Valencia Stovall (D-Lake City), the “Landon Dunson Act,” allows for the placement of video cameras to observe and monitor self-contained special education classrooms. School districts retain the authority to decide if they will participate in this program. •  HB 659 by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead) requires local school districts to make publically available, to the greatest extent feasible, school-level budgetary information, including the cost of all materials, equipment and other non-staff support; salary and benefit expenditures for all staff; professional development costs, including training, materials and tuition; facility maintenance costs; and new construction or major renovation costs reported on a cost-persquare-foot. Later in the session, portions of other bills were added to HB 659. The final legislation contains requirements related to competitive federal education grants of more than $20 million, intended to increase transparency regarding the

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May/June 2016

grant’s impact on Georgia education policy, as well as long-term projections of unfunded costs. HB 659 also creates a pilot program for the flexible use of Title I funding for the 2016-17 school year. •  HB 739 by Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) directs local school districts to establish a review and recommendation process for locally approved instructional materials. The publication and review mandate excludes supplementary or ancillary material, such as articles, worksheets, novels, biographies, speeches, videos and music. •  HB 777 by Rep. Mike Dudgeon (R-Johns Creek) allows school bus drivers to use cell phones as two-way radios. •  HB 879 by Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) allows high schools to award a seal of bi-literacy on the diplomas of students who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in one or more foreign languages. •  HB 895 by Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-Decatur) requires additional financial training for charter school leaders. •  HB 905 by Rep. Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton) adds child endangerment to mandated child abuse reporting requirements. Child endangerment is defined in several ways, including child cruelty, driving under the influence with a child and manufacturing illegal drugs in the presence of a child. •  HB 959 by Rep. Beth Beskin (R-Atlanta) sponsored this session’s “Title 20 Cleanup” bill. In its final form, the legislation contains the following provisions: language clarifying the First Amendment rights of local school board members; exemptions from End of Course Tests for high school students who score above a 3 on Advanced Placement exams, above a 4 on International Baccalaureate exams or who earn an A, B or C in dual enrollment courses; clarification regarding dual credit diplomas; a provision enabling the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) to create unique identifiers to track children of military families; an allowance for the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement to receive and convert gifts of real property; and language authorizing both Charter and Strategic Waiver school systems to operate career academies. •  SB 275 by Sen. Michael Williams (R-Cumming) also pertains to the speech rights of local board of education members and prohibits local boards from

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adopting or following any code of ethics that prevents board members from discussing freely the policies and actions of the board outside of board meetings. The bill does not apply to matters discussed in executive session. •  SB 309 by Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) prohibits the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) from limiting studentathlete religious expression except as required for athlete safety. The legislation also allows GHSA and non-GHSA member schools to scrimmage in games that do not count toward region standing. •  SB 348 by Sen. Tippins allows for college and career academies in both charter systems and strategic waiver systems. •  SB 329, also by Sen. Tippins, contains duplicative language contained in the Title 20 Cleanup Bill (HB 959) related to student dual-credit coursework. The bill allows students to receive high school diplomas based on completion of certain dual-credit courses. •  SB 355 by Sen. William Ligon (R-Brunswick) began its legislative journey as comprehensive reform to Georgia’s student testing and educator evaluation program. As the bill moved through the Senate Education and Youth Committee, it was narrowed in scope. The final version of SB 355, entitled the “Student Protection Act,” codifies much of GaDOE’s existing standardized testing opt-out guidance. It allows families to request tests to be administered in penciland-paper format, and it prohibits the use of sit-and-stare policies. Assessments will be optional for students with life-threatening or serious health conditions, or students excused by a licensed physician’s or therapist’s order. The legislation contains provisions for rescheduling missed tests and for promotion of students who opt-out of standardized tests. SB 355 also protects educators and schools from being penalized for student refusal to participate in testing. •  Non-binding resolutions passed during the 2016 session include SR 723, which encourages schools to guarantee student-athlete safety; HR 1253, which encourages dugout safety instruction; HR 1342, which encourages schools to increase student recess; and HR 1564, which encourages sudden cardiac arrest training in schools.

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Continued on page 17 PAGE ONE  15

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Much of the important news from any legislative session includes details about what education proposals did not pass. Perhaps the most significant education initiatives in this category this year include those from the Governor’s Education Reform Commission (ERC), which recommended a slate of proposals including a rewrite of QBE and controversial reforms to teacher compensation. Many expected the ERC package to move through the 2016 General Assembly, but in his January State of the State address, Gov. Deal announced he intended to hold the reforms until 2017. Two dangerous tax proposals, which would have limited the state’s ability to fund high-quality public education, died in large part due to advocacy by concerned parents and educators. HB 238 and SR 756 also jeopardized Georgia’s prized AAA bond rating. School choice expansion failed to pass as well. HB 865, a proposed school voucher available to low-income students as part of a new tuition tax credit program, was not successful due to concern about its cost and opposition from proponents of the current tuition tax program in which voucher recipients are not means-tested. In its original form, SR 388 would have opened the door for a full-scale education voucher program. PAGE worked with legislators on a narrowly tailored amendment to ensure that SR 388 would not amend the Georgia Constitution to expand school vouchers. Ultimately, the resolution did not make it out of committee. Changes to Georgia’s Teacher Retirement System (TRS) were minimal. Special legislative rules applicable to fiscal retirement legislation require that fiscal TRS bills be introduced in the first year of Georgia’s legislative biennium and successfully advance to a summer actuarial study. Look for more TRS-related legislation during the 2017 General Assembly, as next year is the first n year in Georgia’s biennial cycle. In the electronic version of this report available at under the “Legislative” tab, PAGE has included links to supporting documents and legislative voting records for some bills. Please take the time to see how your House and Senate members voted and to learn more about the legislative issues affecting Georgia schools.

May/June 2016 Keeping Georgia’s Best Educators In the Know 99 99 99 99 99 99 99

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Growing Georgia’s Teachers

PAGE Primes the Teacher Pipeline Throughout Georgia By Dale Gillespie and Mary Ruth Ray, PAGE College Services Representatives


t wasn’t that long ago that newly •  Code of Ethics: PAGE attorneys minted teachers emerging from provide highly relevant presentations Georgia’s colleges and univerof the Code of Ethics for Georgia sities struggled to find a teaching Educators. They emphasize how to position. But the pendulum has prevent violations and they present swung fully in the opposite direcreal-life cases involving educators tion. School districts now struggle sanctioned for a violation. to fill vacancies. As the state’s largest •  Career Launch: This learning organization for professional educamodule helps college students prepare tors, the Professional Association of their resume, locate job vacancies and Georgia Educators takes the lead role present themselves professionally in in helping to identify, recruit, prepare job interviews. and retain top students for teaching •  Education 411: This module careers in Georgia public schools. tackles hot topics that arise during the To prime the teacher pipeline, first year of teaching — everything PAGE has established Future Georgia from how much and where a teacher’s Educators (FGE) chapters in high pay comes from, to setting up a taxschools across the state. We partner sheltered annuity, extra duties and with colleges throughout Georgia to how administrators make decisions. KSU Educator Career Fair attendee Megan host full-day conferences for FGE PAGE has received outstanding Carey (right) talks with Melanie Evans of PAGE. students and their peers wishing to responses from both high school and explore teaching as a career. During colleges for its work on populating this school year alone, FGE conferences ment rather than duplicate what is covered the teacher pipeline. We will continue our have hosted more than 1,200 potential in the college curriculum, address issues support for future teachers to help them teacher candidates from high schools in that tend to blindside young teachers: transition from high school students to virtually every geographic sector of the teacher candidates to novice teachers. n state. The conferences also hosted 75 recruiting teams from 27 Georgia colleges and universities. Then, in the postsecondary arena, PAGE provides essential professional learning to pre-service teachers in colleges of education throughout Georgia. Our learning modules, which comple-

Cedric Winfrey (left), a Mercer student pursuing a Master of Arts in teaching, with Admissions Director Michael Clayton.


May/June 2016

Colleges throughout Georgia welcomed PAGE onto 100 of their campuses this school year to conduct professional learning sessions with their education students. Topics included Code of Ethics training, launching your career and what to expect in your first year of teaching. PAGE will continue partnering with colleges of education to help students develop the soft skills needed to succeed as new teachers. For more information, contact PAGE Colleges Services Representative Dale Gillespie at

(l-r) Cascade ES (Atlanta) student-teachers Shana Alexander and Jazmine Brownlee with Melanie Evans of PAGE. May/June 2016

Jamie Brown of Valdosta City Schools Department of Human Resources.


Professional Learning

Engaging the Next Generation With Digital Tools


echnology permeates our schools. Today’s students use devices, programs and mobile computer labs. Textbooks have given way to digital resources. Even the role of the teacher as one who shares essential knowledge has faded. The need for educators to design engaging work, guide students through meaningful experiences in a learning platform and create or curate content-rich, engaging resources is paramount. On a weekend in February, 73 teachers and principals from the PAGE High School Redesign Initiative (HSRI) delved into Engaging the 1 Next Generation (ENG2). The workshop, designed by the Schlechty Center, examines how digital tools factor in learning and engagement. “We see this need all across the country,” says Ron Wright, Schlechty Center senior associate.

1. (l-r) Heritage HS (Catoosa) teachers Natalie Atwell, Tammy Gibson, Robyn Hope, Karen Wolfe, Rhonda Sixto and Loraine Young. 2. Schlechty Center Fellow Terri Ponder from Rome City Schools. 3. (l-r) Assistant Principal Ryan McKinnon and teacher Elizabeth Gable of Carrollton ES and Cartersville MS teachers Lindsay Montgomery,

“It is one thing to purchase and distribute devices. It is altogether another challenge for teachers to know how to use digital technology in an effective and engaging manner.” If teachers are not granted this training, they (and by association, their districts) will fall back on one-size-fits-all technology that readily bores students. Workshop participants examined ways in which to engage students with resources. For example, a teacher solely locked in on content may scour the Internet for a content-appropriate video. The teacher

Sarah Belisle and Dana Burton.

may then assign the video, expecting students to study it; but a teacher who understands the integration of technology and engagement will, in addition to choosing accurate resources, also evaluate why students might engage with the video and why they might volunteer their best efforts to learn the content. Such a teacher might consider the following: Does a particular student need authenticity or variety to engage? If so, how might the chosen digital resource address those needs? Perhaps some students value choice. Could they



4. Foreground, Cartersville ES teacher Ashley Scoggins; background (l-r), Carrollton ES Principal Karen Wild, Schlechty Center Senior Associate Annissa Roland and Crisp County HS teacher Shannon Williams. 5. (l-r) Lakeview FortOglethorpe HS (Catoosa) teachers Laura Cole and Traci McCracken.



May/June 2016

choose from a variety of content-relevant sources instead of a single video? “When educators address engagement, students work so much harder. That superior effort is what leads to profound learning,” says Wright. If digital work does not address student needs, motives and values, the teacher will have failed to harness the power of digital technology on behalf of his or her students. “Teachers sometimes forget how exciting learning and engagement can be. This reminds us how to turn our complete attention to learning and discovering together,” reflects workshop participant Ge-Anne Bolhuis, a Cartersville High School instructional technology specialist. Educators in ENG2 did not just watch and learn: By the time the workshop


A teacher who understands the integration of technology and engagement will, in addition to choosing accurate resources, evaluate why students might volunteer their best efforts to learn the content. Does a particular student need authenticity or variety? If so, how might the digital resource address those needs? Perhaps some students value choice. Could they choose from a variety of content-relevant sources instead of a single video? ended on Sunday, they had all created unique digital projects to use with their own students. “We created a highly efficient Blendspace for our entire K-3 guided reading plan,” says Carrollton Elementary School Principal Karen Wild. “It gives teachers and staff access to support documents, videos and photos, and provides storage space for expansion.” The historical model of teacher as instructor has transitioned into a model that requires a fluid understanding of how digital technology factors into the lives of students and how they learn. The PAGE HSRI

educators who experienced ENG2 are well on their way to modeling that change. “Leaving the ENG2 retreat on Sunday afternoon, teachers walked away with a great toolbox of resources, teaching strategies and learning experiences to lead our students into the next generation of learning,” reflect Daniel Bennett and Bri White, Red Bud Middle School n sixth-grade teachers.

‘Teachers sometimes forget how exciting learning and engagement can be. This reminds us how to turn our complete attention to learning and discovering together.’ – Ge-Anne Bolhuis, Cartersville High School Instructional Technology Specialist Photos by Meg Thornton

May/June 2016


Professional Learning

Principals and Teachers Share Blueprints for Designing Engaging Work This spring, PAGE Principal and Teacher Leadership Network participants culminated their two-year professional learning experience by sharing portfolios chronicling the work they will lead in their schools/districts. The portfolios

are blueprints for designing rigorous work that their respective students find interesting and highly relevant. The next PTLN cohort will convene in September at the PAGE office in Atlanta. Participating prin1

cipals and teachers will meet four times throughout the school year. For more information on the PAGE Principal and Teacher Leadership Network, contact Angela Garrett at or 706-459-0302.


4 3





May/June 2016


Photos by Meg Thornton 9


11 12


1. Mary Beth Cantanzano and Jeremy Roerdink of Fairyland ES (Walker). 2. Cassandra Noble and Alisha Durant of Todd Grant ES (McIntosh). 3. Wayne Ingle and Kevin Trobaugh of Heritage HS (Catoosa), Jessica Westmoreland of Ashworth MS and Marie Taylor of Tolbert ES (Gordon). 4. Barbara Hall of Gordon Central HS and Sket Angland of Tolbert ES. 5. Schlechty Center Senior Associate Deanna Howard. 6. Candace Respress of Sonoraville HS (Gordon) and Bryan Edge of Trion HS (Chattooga). 7. Carol Mainer, Ralph Carlyle and Vanessa Harper of Metter MS (Candler).


8. Scott Ehlers of Westwood ES (Dalton), Belinda Sloan of North Whitfield MS (Whitfield) and Cassandra Noble of Todd Grant ES (McIntosh). 9. Chris Clark of Lafayette MS (Walker) and Becky Hulsey of Sonoraville HS. 10. Angela Carter of Factory Shoals MS (Douglas). 11. Brenda Badura of Arnold Magnet Academy (Muscogee) and Bruce Potts, principal of Sonoraville HS. 12. Jessica Westmoreland of Ashworth MS, Ralph Carlyle of Metter MS and Paul Allen of Central HS (Bibb). 13. Ronnie Bradford of Heritage HS. 14. Tabitha Ginther of Northside HS (Muscogee).

May/June 2016


The FACTS About an

Opportunity What Is the Opportunity School District? The Opportunity School District is a proposed constitutional amendment that allows the state to take over schools that have scored 60 or below on Georgia’s College and Career Readiness Index (CCRPI) for three consecutive years. The OSD would be run by a superintendent answering directly to the governor. There are four options available to the OSD superintendent: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Close the school Reorganize staff, firing and hiring teachers and principals Transfer the school to the State Charter Schools Commission Direct local board to make changes at the OSD schools via contract

The OSD is authorized to take up to 20 qualifying schools per school year with no more than 100 schools under its supervision at any time. As stated in the legislation, “the schools selected for inclusion in the OSD should represent geographic diversity, including urban and rural schools.” The facilities of qualifying schools that are transferred to the supervision of the OSD will then be controlled by the OSD. This includes textbooks, technology, media resources, instructional equipment and all other resources. The OSD will be responsible for maintenance and repair of the building, but the local board is responsible for extensive repairs and capital expenses.

When Would the OSD Take Over Local Schools? Schools will be eligible for takeover by the OSD Jan. 1, 2017. A school will remain under the supervision of the OSD for a minimum of five consecutive years or, for OSD charter schools, for the term of the initial charter. If a school earns a rating above 60 on the CCRPI for three consecutive years, it will be released from the OSD. The maximum term a school will remain under the supervision of the OSD is 10 years. If an OSD school is converted to state charter status, renewal of its charter will remove the school from the OSD. By April 1 of each year, the OSD superintendent must identify the schools selected for takeover, and by July 1 must specify the intervention method most appropriate for each school selected for takeover. This information will be published on the state OSD website.

School District Why Is the OSD Referendum Important? In the November election, the following proposed state constitutional amendment will appear before voters: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance? Parents, educators and other stakeholders are concerned about the OSD for many reasons, including: •

• •

Parents lose say in a local school and access to locally elected schools boards. The OSD superintendent is accountable only to the sitting governor and uses local tax dollars to create a duplicative Atlanta bureaucracy operating in perpetuity. The OSD reduces students and schools to a failing number. Data is inconsistent; CCRPI, the measurement used to determine OSD eligibility, has changed several times since its implementation. The OSD plan does not address why students and schools are struggling and transparency is lacking. Reform and rulemaking are subject to the discretion of the OSD superintendent.

The OSD gives the state control over local tax dollars and local facilities. Local communities retain liability for local schools while the state seizes control of the schools.

What Can I Do? School stakeholders concerned about the OSD plan should use the coming months to educate their local communities about the OSD plan and initiate discussion of the pros and cons. Teachers and school leaders should use CCRPI data to demonstrate upward progress at the local level and encourage open and honest community discussion about resources needed to assist struggling students. Remember that school email and other public resources should not be used for the distribution of non-educational material that directly advocates for or against the OSD referendum.

For updates and articles on OSD, visit

2016 PAGE STAR Banquet

A Night Among the STARs

2016 State PAGE STAR Student Rohan Rao (center) and State PAGE STAR Teacher Dr. Jack Bucsko (second from left) are joined by (l-r) PAGE Foundation President John Varner, PAGE President Stephanie Davis Howard and Cricket Wireless Vice President of Channel Operations George Cleveland during the State PAGE STAR Banquet awards presentation.


ohan Rao, a senior at Fulton County Schools’ Johns Creek High School, is the 2016 State PAGE STAR Student. He named Dr. John “Jack” Bucsko, his Spanish teacher at Johns Creek High, as his State PAGE STAR Teacher. Erwin Gan Cai, a senior at the Cobb County School District’s Wheeler High School, is the Runner-up State PAGE STAR Student and chose Raymond Furstein, his AP Calculus AB teacher, as his STAR Teacher. Twenty PAGE STAR Student region finalists competed during the day-long state competition held in April. Among those finalists, 10 scored 2400 on the SAT (in one sitting), and all were in the top 10 percent or top 10 of their class. Popular college and university choices among this year’s finalists were Brown University and Georgia Tech, and planned areas of study included biochemistry and other pre-med fields, computer science and engineering. The search for the State PAGE STAR Student began earlier this year with the naming of 523 local STAR Students from each of the participating high schools across the state. Now in its 58th year, the program has honored more than 25,500 STAR students and their chosen STAR teachers. To view a video report about the event, visit


(l-r) 2016 State PAGE STAR Teacher Dr. Jack Bucsko and State PAGE STAR Student Rohan Rao. Bucsko received a $2,500 cash award from the Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, and Rao received a $5,000 cash award from AT&T Georgia. May/June 2016

Pictured following the awards presentation are (l-r) PAGE Foundation President John Varner, President of The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation Mark Davis, 2016 Runner-up State PAGE STAR Student Erwin Gan Cai, 2016 Runner-up State PAGE STAR Teacher Raymond Furstein, Georgia Chamber of Commerce Director of Public Policy Jason O’Rouke and PAGE President Stephanie Davis Howard.

Thank You to PAGE STAR Major Sponsors Professional Association of Georgia Educators Georgia Chamber of Commerce AT&T Georgia Frances Wood Wilson Foundation, Inc. PAGE Foundation Price Gilbert, Jr. Charitable Fund Savannah College of Art and Design The Coca-Cola Company Mozelle Christian Endowment

(l-r) PAGE Student Region winners Samuel Cai and Shivani Guturu join Savannah College of Art and Design Vice President and Senior Academic Officer Dr. Teresa Griffis during the reception sponsored by SCAD.

2016 STAR Student Region Winners: first row (l-r) Tracy Du, Johns Creek High (Fulton); Lily Ge, Lambert High (Forsyth); Shivani Guturu, Northview High (Fulton); Rebecca Suh, St. Andrews School (Chatham); Haley Grable, North Oconee High (Oconee); Rachel Dekom, Glynn Academy (Glynn); and Juliette Hu, Westover High (Dougherty); second row (l-r) Mary Margaret Wright, Darlington School (Rome); Aomeng Cui, Chamblee Charter High (DeKalb); Samuel Cai, Northview High (Fulton); Andrew Hathcock, Chestatee High (Hall); Dylan Quintal, Stratford Academy (Bibb); Rohan Rao, Johns Creek High (Fulton); and third row (l-r) Marshall Todd, LaGrange High (Troup); Toku Shi, Lakeside High (Columbia); Erwin Cai, Wheeler High (Cobb); Danny Kim, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (Henry); Max Wang, Lowndes High (Lowndes); Trevor Head, Kennesaw Mountain High (Cobb). Not pictured, Eli Heyman, The Galloway School (Fulton). Continued on page 28 May/June 2016


PAGE STAR Banquet Continued

2016 PAGE STAR Teacher Region Winners: first row (l-r) John Cato, Lakeside High (Columbia); Jennifer Williams, Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (Henry); Stacy Casey, North Oconee High; Adrienne Keathley, Chamblee Charter High (DeKalb); Michelle Fleming, Stratford Academy (Bibb); Rebecca Bingham, Northview High (Fulton); Jennifer Graybeal, Lowndes High; Dr. Joanne Jezequel, Kennesaw Mountain High (Cobb); Tania Pope, Northview High (Fulton); and David Zink, Lambert High (Forsyth); and second row (l-r) Dr. Charles Whiddon, LaGrange High (Troup); Raymond Furstein, Wheeler High (Cobb); Gordon Mathis, The Galloway School (Fulton); Dr. Jack Bucsko, Johns Creek High (Fulton); Jonathan Anderson, Johns Creek High (Fulton); Gary Martin, The Da Vinci Academy (Hall); Kelly McDurmon, Darlington School (Rome); Thomas Amos, Westover High (Dougherty); David Kelly, St. Andrew’s School (Chatham); and John Cato, Lakeside High (Columbia).


Education Specialist





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May/June 2016


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Georgia Academic Decathlon

Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High Wins Sixth GAD State Championship

The 2016 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Champion Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School team members and their coaches are joined by award presenters at the PAGE GAD Awards Banquet. Pictured: first row (l-r) PAGE Foundation President John Varner, Coach Lisa Beck, Alaina Joyner, Valerie King, Selma Kajtazovic, Binal Patel, Traci Gray, Oglethorpe Power Community Relations Coordinator Mary Long and PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill; and second row (l-r) Coach Ian Beck, John Christopher, Jacob Elliott, John Muina, Ben Harden, Addison Smith and Abigail Follett. Long presented a $1,000 donation on behalf of Oglethorpe Power to the GAD State Championship team to help defray their travel expenses to the USAD Nationals Competition.


atoosa County’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School won the 2016 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon State Championship. It is the sixth time the high school has captured the top honor. The team, which scored the highest number of points overall,

was presented with the Howard Stroud Championship Trophy at the PAGE GAD Awards Banquet, the culminating event of the two-day competition. As state champion, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe competed as Georgia’s representative at the annual U.S. Academic Decathlon

Awards were presented to the overall highest individual scorers in the Honors, Scholastic and Varsity divisions. Pictured: (l-r) Scholastic gold medalist John Muina, Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High (Catoosa); Honors gold medalist Angad Joshi, Parkview High (Gwinnett); and Varsity gold medalist Austin Key; Hardaway High (Muscogee). 30  PAGE ONE

National Competition in Anchorage, Alaska, in April. The GAD state championship, held each February at Berkmar High School in Lilburn, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the PAGE Foundation, the Chick-fil-A

Members of the Academy of Kuchipudi Dance enchanted the audience with traditional Indian dances. The performers are (l-r) Suma Yellamraju, Surya Samasritha Akella, Manvitha Manyam and Smriti Suresh. May/June 2016

GAD State Championship Winners

Foundation and Oglethorpe Power. Fox 5 News Chief Second Runner-up Coaches: Cynthia Cox, DIVISION I Meteorologist David Chandley A. R. Johnson Health, Sarah Triplett and Russell Champion served as master of ceremoScience and Engineering Bennett Parkview High School nies of the awards banquet. Magnet School (Gwinnett) DIVISION II Our partner, Kennesaw State (Richmond) Coaches: Melodie State Champion University, hosts and provides Coaches: Dr. Amanda Carr, Dave Steele and Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe speakers for the GAD Fall Litfin and Philip Samantha Wells High School (Catoosa) Workshop and coordinates Grabowskii First Runner-up Coaches: Lisa Beck and more than 200 volunteers durRookie of the Year Berkmar High School Ian Beck ing the state competition. Cross Creek High School (Gwinnett) First Runner-up Approximately 200 students (Richmond) Coach: Christopher Pae Shaw High School from 23 high schools repreCoach: Dr. Mike Price Second Runner-up (Muscogee) senting 13 districts competed Villa Rica High School Coaches: Natasha Torres in the state championship (Carroll) and Alice Mendez event. Students earned team and individual medals in various competition categories. They were tested in seven conrunner-up. Charles Richardson, editorial junction with the national finals competitent areas: economics, art, language and page editor of The Telegraph newspation. Parkview High School, Shaw High literature, mathematics, science, social per in Macon and a PAGE Foundation School and A. R. Johnson Magnet School science and music. They also earned trustee, was the Super Quiz master of represented Georgia in the large, medium points individually in three communicaceremonies. and small school categories, respectively. tion events: public speaking, personal The U.S. Academic Decathlon Online To view a video report about the event, n interview and written essay. This year’s National Competition was held in convisit curriculum topic is “India.” The GAD competition was unique because each nine-member team is made up of three “A,” or honor students; three “B,” or scholastic students; and three “C,” or varsity students. On Day 2 of the state event, students participated in the exciting Super Quiz in which teams compete in a quiz bowl format, keying in answers. Richmond County’s Cross Creek High School was this year’s Super Quiz champion. Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe was first runner-up and Berkmar High was second

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Correction: The March/April issue of PAGE One omitted a graphic to be included in the “Technology in the Classroom” article on digital badges. The updated article appears in the electronic version of the March/April issue on the PAGE website at

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


The articles published in PAGE One represent the views of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, except where clearly stated. Contact the editor: Craig Harper,; PAGE One, PAGE, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141-2270; 770-216-8555 or 800-334-6861. Contributions/gifts to the PAGE Foundation are deductible as charitable contributions by federal law. Costs for PAGE lobbying on behalf of members are not deductible. PAGE estimates that 7 percent of the nondeductible portion of your 2015-16 dues is allocated to lobbying. PAGE One (ISSN 1523-6188) is mailed to all PAGE members, selected higher education units and other school-related professionals. An annual subscription is included in PAGE membership dues. A subscription for others is $10 annually. Periodicals class nonprofit postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. (USPS 017-347) Postmaster: Send address changes to PAGE One, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141–2270. PAGE One is published five times a year (January, March, May, August and October) by New South Publishing Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30350; 770-650-1102. Copyright ©2016.

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