PAGE One Magazine, Oct.-Nov. 2015

Page 1

October/November 2015

Major Changes Proposed for Georgia School Funding and Educator Pay

What You Need to Know

QBE Full Funding Mandate Est. 1985

Since 2012: $4.6 Billion in Austerity Cuts

FY16: $466 Million in Austerity Cuts

Future Georgia Education Funding?

$8 Billion

in QBE Austerity Cuts from 2003–2016 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

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October/November 2015

Vol. 37 No. 2


07  PAGE Special Report: Education Funding in Georgia


•  How Should the State of Georgia Calculate Pay for its Teachers? •  ‘The Dickson Compromise’ Emerges as a Strong Possibility •  PAGE Statement on Educator Compensation •  GBPI Report •  Early Recommendations of the Other ERC Committees



4  From the President Three Critical Factors in Child Development: Home, School, Community

The Ninth-Grade Year 20 For Many Students, Ninth Grade Determines Success or Failure in Life

5  From the Executive Director Education 2015: Juggling Act, Whiplash, Dodgeball, Tidal Wave, Train Wreck ...

21 Schools Team Up with Columbus Tech: Setting Ninth-graders on a Firm Post-secondary Path Professional Learning 22 HSRI: The Foundation of PAGE Professional Learning


Technology in the Classroom 26 Wake Up! Nearpod for Engagement and Interactive Lectures

Foundation News 30  Hundreds Gather to Honor Robert L. Brown Jr. and R L Brown & Associates Inc.

Legal 28  The Educator as Doctor, Nurse, Pharmacist, Patient

32  PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees Hears from Transformational Educators

24 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.

October/November 2015



Editor Craig Harper

President Larry Lebovitz

Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta

Associate Editor Meg Thornton

Publisher John Hanna

Production Coordinator Megan Willis

Contributing Editor Lynn Varner

Editor Lindsay Penticuff

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

Associate Editor Jacqui Frasca


From the President

Three Critical Factors in Child Development: Home, School, Community Stephanie Davis Howard


he children in my family span the K-12 spectrum: kindergarten, first grade, junior high and a high school senior. At the start of the school year, when I asked one of the youngest about school, he replied, “Of course I like it. Who doesn’t?” Wouldn’t it be great if students maintained that mindset throughout their school years? We send our children to school full of dreams. A few continue to dream big, set goals and ultimately realize their aspirations. But somewhere along the way, many young people lose hope for their future. As students move up the academic ladder, schools tend to become larger and more impersonal. Changing classes, for example, changes the nature of relationships. And, because more advanced study and organization skills are required and greater effort is demanded for success, good grades become harder to achieve. How can we bridge the gap between students who continue to thrive and those who lose motivation? As the adage goes, “it takes a village.” The first line of defense is the home. Involved parents or guardians are paramount; these caretakers are the child’s primary

How can we bridge the gap between students who continue to thrive and those who lose motivation? As the adage goes, ‘it takes a village.’ Only by working together can we provide each child with the opportunity to succeed.


advocates. They see to it that the child attends school regularly, takes classes in line with his or her goals, maintains involvement in extracurricular and community activities, and applies to appropriate post-secondary schools. They discuss academic concerns with their child and address behavior issues promptly. The second line of defense is the school. In essence, schools help bridge the gap between home and school. Academic interventions for struggling students are commonplace. Beyond International Baccalaureate, honors and dual enrollment offerings, schools provide pathways, such as Career Tech, ROTC, Performance Learning Centers, Virtual School and flexible scheduling. Charter schools and alternative programs are also available. Social interventions are provided as well. Personal relationships within schools are established to help maintain a stable environment for the child. Our third line of defense is the community. This assistance comes in the form of leadership academies, mentoring and apprenticeship programs often made possible through business partners. Collaboration among business and community leaders and the school builds capacity, leading to improved student development. These critical factors in the development of a child — home, school and community — do not work in isolation. Only by working together can we provide each child with the opportunity to succeed, so that the enthusiasm experienced in first grade continues through n graduation day.

October/November 2015

From the Executive Director

Education 2015: Juggling Act, Whiplash, Dodgeball, Tidal Wave, Train Wreck …


o many critical issues are coming to the forefront in education in our state and across the nation that I’m not sure what metaphor best fits the condition of our profession. A few frontrunners are whiplash and dodgeball, or maybe being hit like a piñata. The most apt description might be a juggling act, but one in which the talented performer never controls the number or type of objects that must be kept cycling through the air, yet is expected to do so expertly. Regardless of the metaphor, the issue is the same: Privatization activists, voucher proponents, most politicians and some education reformers want to denigrate public education and those who teach our children and lead our schools. Skewed data and selective points of view and opinions about the failures of public education are accepted as fact without solid, thoughtful evidence to back up such claims. Those “facts” have led to mandates for “accountability” from every corner of the regulatory universe. ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES ABOUND

Here are just a few of the federal and/or state accountability measures aimed at fixing educators and education: •  NCLB to CCRPI: Georgia’s waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act. •  GTEP or district-adopted evaluation systems to TKES/LKES: The evaluation system purports to provide valid and reliable performance scores of teachers and leaders so that the state may identify which individuals should be rewarded and which should be labeled ineffective. This data collection effort has disrupted so much of the structure of schools that many districts are over-

October/November 2015

whelmed. While the TAPS rubric provides a solid framework for teacher evaluation, the heavy emphasis on standardized test results and SLO growth measures fails to account for the variability of other factors that affect students’ performance. The 50 percent and 70 percent weight for TEM/LEM scores should be reduced or eliminated. And, the number of observations for veteran and proficient teachers should be relaxed. •  Georgia Performance Standards and CCGPS to Georgia Standards of Excellence: The standards seem to be as fluid as the state assessment system. (Math teachers, in particular, might choose “whiplash” as their metaphor.) •  EOCT, CRCT, GHSGT, GHSWT and writing assessments to EOC, Milestones, SLOs (and more SLOs): The ever-changing testing methodologies, requirements and guidelines related to student growth and TKES/LKES TEM/LEM scores are enough to confuse even the most experienced educator. Over-testing is a national issue, and parents and educators in several states are crying “Enough!” When educators are required to spend excessive time with test training, logistics, computer setup and administration of the tests, they have significantly less time to engage students in quality, meaningful learning. •  Certification and teacher preparation: The redesign of teacher certification to match TKES and the potential changes to compensation make the certification process even more

Dr. Allene Magill convoluted. Several new certificates aren’t even available for teachers to obtain until more data is available from TKES/ TEM scores. Teacher preparation rules requiring edTPA, an ethics assessment, TKES-like provider evaluations and Certificates of Eligibility have added cost, confusion and consternation for students and colleges of education. (PAGE One will address teacher preparation, recruitment and retention in the January/February issue). •  Education Reform Commission: ERC committees are considering many facets of education, among them the most fundamental foundations of providing a quality education for students in Georgia: basic funding for school districts and compensation for teachers. The recommendations of the committee will directly impact every educator in our state. (See related content throughout this issue of PAGE One.) •  Opportunity School District: A statewide vote on whether Georgia adopts a measure that allows the governor to identify and take over schools identified as failing will be on the ballot in November 2016. The impact of this vote has far-reaching implications for local districts, teachers, parents and students. Much more informa-

We need to engage students with quality instruction every day instead of focusing on overlapping and distracting accountability systems. What is the purpose of school, after all?


tion will be provided in the next year for you to make an informed decision. WHAT IS AN EDUCATOR TO DO?

All of these issues stacked on top of each other are enough to cause us to throw up our hands in frustration and give in to whatever the pressure of the day might be. Too many interventions, even if wellintentioned, can counteract one another and create more problems than solutions. Let’s slow down and assess where we are and what we’re trying to accomplish. Do we have student success concerns to address in public education? Absolutely. Are those concerns reflective of the teachers and administrators in our schools? Not as much as they reflect the myriad issues that students bring with them to our classrooms and schools. We need to engage students with quality instruction every day instead of focusing on overlapping and distracting accountability systems. What is the purpose of school, after all? Regardless of the initiatives or legislation proposed by those who control

education, PAGE believes that statewide quality education is dependent upon the following: •  Adequate funding for school districts; •  Improved salaries for teachers while maintaining training and experience factors; •  Professional learning focused on student engagement and positive relationships, resulting in student academic growth; •  Valid and consistent quality standards that remain in place long enough for teachers and students to be successful; •  Understanding that wealth, poverty, family and community factor greatly into the success or struggle of school children; •  Support of the quality work that educators perform every day in our schools. Because of you — the 87,000-strong membership of dedicated educators across our state — PAGE has a big voice when responding and pushing for practical resolutions on these issues. We are present and persistent in advocating for educators with elected representatives, department of education staff, the Teachers Retirement System board, state health board and others. While our voice

at PAGE might be big, it’s still one voice. It’s also important that you are informed and engaged in these issues that affect your profession and those educators following your path. Your voice matters! It matters in your school, your district and your community. It matters to your representatives in the General Assembly. It matters at the Georgia Department of Education and all the other agencies with which educators must interact. You may not know that your voice is heard, but be assured that it is. Since I began with metaphors, I’ll end with an illustration from “Horton Hears a Who!” by the great author Dr. Seuss. In the book, the community of Whoville was only saved from further damage and destruction when one final voice was added to the chorus: “We are here!” Let’s not be guilty of allowing our vital profession be damaged further or destroyed because not all of us are being heard. Actively engage in the effort to restore common sense and a focus on students and learning to our public schools. Let your n voice be heard.


Education Specialist





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October/November 2015

PAGE Special Report Education Funding in Georgia

Changes Proposed for School Funding and Educator Pay

What You Need to Know


n mid-December, the Funding Committee of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission will make recommendations for a formula to replace Georgia’s 30-yearold Quality Basic Education formula that funds public education. Among many ques-

tions are whether the new formula will attempt to redistribute the current amount of state funding for public schools, which includes an austerity cut of $466 million in fiscal year 2016, or restore full funding. The stakes are high: Many Georgia school districts are strapped, even as expenditures increase, class sizes remain high and cuts are made for academically struggling students and for arts and electives programs. Added to these funding pressures is the push to redirect public funding for use by private, for-profit education companies. Topping the list of targeted funds for reallocation is the $3.5 billion paid for teacher compensation through training and experience (T&E) for advanced degrees and years of experience. Continuing state funding for October/November 2015

T&E is essential to allow lower-wealth districts to attract and retain a qualified workforce. Districts already face difficulty in recruiting staff due to differences in local salary supplements above the state minimum salary schedule. Many questions are not yet answered regarding how the state will determine average pay in future years, what the state base salary schedule will include and what model the state will adopt for new teachers. This special edition of PAGE One provides comprehensive coverage of proposals that the ERC is leaning toward; a review of the key components of

the QBE Act (that, until funding was slashed more than a decade ago, appropriately served the interests of Georgia’s growing public school student population); as well as recommendations that PAGE is advocating to the ERC on behalf of more than 87,000 Georgia educators. Educators are strongly encouraged to read this special edition, follow the developments of the commission closely and speak out for the quality education needs of Georgia students. Sign up for the PAGE listserv at, and like PAGE on Facebook to stay informed. PAGE ONE  7

PAGE Special Report: Education Funding in Georgia

How Should the State of Georgia Calculate Pay for its Teachers? By Christine Van Dusen


t may seem like a straightforward question, one that shouldn’t require an advanced degree in mathematics or diplomacy to answer. But arriving at a solution that satisfies legislators, teachers, taxpayers and school districts alike is proving to be anything but simple. The Funding Committee of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission has been tasked with potentially overhauling the Quality Basic Education Act, a 30-year old funding formula designed to ensure at a minimum the funding necessary to provide a quality education for all students in Georgia, whether they attend school in a wealthy district or an impoverished one. Currently, the funding formula calculates teacher pay based primarily on the number of full-time students in a classroom. It doesn’t provide extra compensation for excellent teachers, nor does it take into account how the big picture has changed during the past three decades — the consistent underfunding of schools, the increasing cost of special services, the rise of virtual education and other technology, as well as growing expectations and requirements. “For outstanding teachers, there’s really nothing in the first few years set up to reward them for outstanding results. Everybody’s on the same set pay 8  PAGE ONE

schedule throughout their careers,” said Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), a member of the ERC Funding Committee. “The governor’s idea was to look at it from a modern-day perspective and see how companies and entities reward their shining stars.” But a new and acceptable formula has proved elusive. The 10-person committee, comprising several members of the Georgia General Assembly and two superintendents, was initially given until August of this year to come up with a recommendation, but the committee asked for an extension. The governor agreed to an extension, and the commission’s final recommendations are expected in December 2015. The stakes are high: In 2016, Georgia’s school districts, many already strapped for funds, are expected to receive $466 million less than the current state funding formula would allocate, even as expenditures increase, class sizes stay larger and cuts are made to the arts, electives and programs for academically struggling students. So teachers will have to do more with less, which could hurt retention and exacerbate the problem of attracting new graduates to careers in teaching. So while the committee debates educator compensation, teachers question the future of their paychecks — and their profession in Georgia.

“It’s an enormous task,” said committee member Georgia State Sen. Lindsey Tippens (R-Marietta).


ov. Deal established the ERC in January. Previous administrations had attempted to rewrite the complex QBE formula, without success. “Everyone has heard of it [QBE] and many have a basic understanding of the amount of money involved and some idea of what that money is used for, but there are only a handful of people in the state of Georgia who can apply the formula in detail and understand and coherently explain its practical application,” said Dr. Jim Arnold, former superintendent of Pelham City Schools and a knowledgeable and outspoken critic on education funding and reform efforts in Georgia.. “Simply put, QBE earnings are an estimation of the cost of paying for a teacher in every K-12 classroom if no students receive special services.” The formula is funded by counting the number of students that attend school full time, then applies a weighted calculation to determine how much money to add for students who require special services. Additional money goes toward indirect instructional costs for administration; facilities maintenance and operations; media centers; staff development; October/November 2015

and 20 extra days of instruction for remediation purposes, Arnold said. “Local funds raised from local millage rates set by local boards are used to pay for additional teachers, salary supplements, parapros, extracurricular activities, athletics and technology,” he said. “Wealthy systems with robust property tax values are able to pay for things that poorer districts cannot.” And while the 2015 budget included a $347 million increase over 2014, it was still underfunded by about $747 million, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. “Add to that the pattern of tax credits for private school, charter school costs, vouchers and unfunded mandates made for political instead of educational purposes and it becomes clear that the system is problematic,” Arnold said.


s a way to crack the surface of the QBE challenge, the ERC’s Funding Committee — headed by former University of Georgia President Dr. Charles Knapp — decided to home in on the more than $3.5 billion earmarked to adjust annual salaries for teachers’ training and experience (T&E). “The whole idea is to give flexibility to local systems on how they compensate those teachers,” England said. “They see those teachers every day. They’re involved on a daily basis. They have to be the ones to decide how much a teacher can make. But if we give that flexibility, we cannot stick with the same T&E.” Committee members went back and forth on what to do with these funds and, by July, came up with two proposals. Both proposals allowed some flexibility for districts to choose how to pay their teachers. Both eliminated training and experience as indicators for pay for new teachers, and both proposals recommended that compensation be based, in part, on “effectiveness.” In late August, a third proposal from member Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta) was offered that received positive support from the committee. It incorporates elements of the first two proposals and calculates a state average salary, allows veteran teachers to continue earning T&E, promotes adopting flexible pay models for new teachers October/November 2015

The current funding formula bases teacher pay on the number of full-time students. It doesn’t provide extra compensation for excellent teachers, nor does it take into account how the big picture has changed during the past three decades — the consistent underfunding of schools, the increasing cost of special services, the rise of technology and growing requirements.

and must use effectiveness measures as a component for pay. Proponents of this “payfor-performance” strategy point to a 2007 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found that teachers without advanced education are just as effective as those who enter the profession with a graduate degree or earn one during the first five years. But the same study also found that “teachers with more experience are better teachers,” according to the authors. “Moreover, it is important to remember that these studies only look at student performance on test scores as the outcome variable of interest,” said Ellen Sherratt, a senior research and policy analyst in the Education Program at American Institutes for Research. “In reality, there may be many other desired outcomes — social, emotional, etc. — and the effect of teacher experience and degrees on these outcomes has not been assessed.” Indeed, the concept of evaluating and determining a teacher’s effectiveness, which can depend so much on resources, support, community poverty and student achievement levels, has become the source of much debate. Opponents of a pay-for-performance model doubt the current evaluation system is equipped to make these kinds of assessments or to make them fairly. “Teacher performance is currently eval-

uated by a model overly reliant on student standardized test scores, which were not developed as a tool to measure teacher effectiveness,” said Margaret Ciccarelli, director of legislative affairs for PAGE.


hanging the way that Georgia pays new teachers, and making that system different from the one used to pay veteran teachers, could make it more difficult for Georgia to attract educators, critics say, exacerbating what is already a problem nationwide. According to a study from ACT, there was a 16 percent drop from 2010 to 2014 in the number of college students interested in becoming teachers. Continued on page 11

‘For outstanding teachers, there’s [nothing] to reward them for outstanding results. … The governor’s idea was to [see] how companies and entities reward their shining stars.’

— Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn) PAGE ONE  9

PAGE Special Report: Education Funding in Georgia ‘The Dickson Compromise’ Emerges as a Strong Possibility When Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission met July 28, the Funding Committee outlined two proposals for structuring teacher compensation. Then, on Aug. 27, a third proposal, known as “The Dickson Compromise” was presented and has been generally accepted as the proposal that will be adopted in the recommendations. As of press time

Proposal 3: ‘The Dickson Compromise’ The ERC Funding Committee reached “preliminary consensus” on a new educator compensation model at its Aug. 27 meeting. Authored by House Appropriations Education Subcommittee Chair Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta), the proposal, referred to by several ERC members as “The Dickson Compromise,” combines several elements of Proposal 1 and Proposal 2 (see below) previously under consideration by the committee. Specifically, The Dickson Compromise merges teacher training and experience (T&E) compensation components from the earlier proposals. Under The Dickson Compromise, the state would determine the state average teacher salary each year and multiply that figure by the number of teachers in the state. A per-student amount would be calculated, and local school districts would earn funding based on student enrollment. Unless veteran educators opt in to the new compensation model, cur-

rent educators will be “grandfathered” under the current compensation model and continue to be paid on the state salary schedule, including any step or education and training increases. Charter Systems and Strategic Waivers School Systems already have the flexibility through their charters and contracts to implement new compensation models on a timeline and in a manner of their choosing. This is important to understand, because under existing Georgia law, all but two school districts in Georgia have become or are in the process of adopting these governance structures and can deviate from current and proposed compensation methods. Funding that local school districts might have earned for current employees based on the state average teacher salary calculation above what would have been earned under the T&E calculation would be used to increase the base amount of funding for students statewide.

Proposal 1 •  The state would continue to calculate and distribute training and experience funds to districts; •  Veteran teachers may remain in the current system; •  Charter Systems and Strategic Waivers School (formerly IE2) systems may develop their own models and submit for approval; •  For teachers who begin service after the effective date, districts could use the money earned in a flexible manner; •  The state would develop compensation models from which districts may choose; •  All new models would contain teacher effectiveness as one element. The upshot: Initially developed as a response to Proposal 2, this would continue to fund T&E at the state level for existing educators using existing methodologies. After a later date, new teachers would move onto the new plan, and local school districts could use the T&E funding sent from the state in a flexible manner. Proposal 2 •  Calculate state average teacher salary (currently $50,767); •  Veteran teachers may remain in the T&E system or opt in to the new system; 10  PAGE ONE

in early October, no votes had been taken on the proposals. A plan is expected to be finalized by December. Stakeholders are strongly encouraged to stay tuned to the PAGE listserv and the PAGE Facebook page for ERC updates as commission discussion continues throughout the fall. If you aren’t connected with PAGE, sign up at

For all new Georgia teachers (at a date not yet determined) and any existing teachers who choose to opt in to the new compensation model, funds would be allocated to local districts based on the state average teacher salary calculation. All local school districts would be required to select a state-developed compensation model or develop local compensation models to submit for state approval. All new compensation models must have educator effectiveness as one component but could also take into account experience, critical shortage areas or other local priorities. This latest compensation proposal — given a preliminary nod by the ERC Funding Committee — is not without controversy. Many questions are not yet answered regarding how the state will determine average pay in future years, what the state base salary schedule will include and what model will be adopted for new teachers.

•  Districts would earn funding based on the state average salary multiplied by the number of teachers; •  Some districts would earn more than current T&E earnings, which would be used flexibly; •  Some districts would earn less than current T&E earnings; •  The districts earning less would be made whole through a hold-harmless allocation estimated at $88 million using the current average teacher salary; •  Charter Systems and Strategic Waivers School systems may develop their own models and submit for approval; •  The state would develop compensation models from which districts may choose; •  All new models would contain teacher effectiveness as one element. The upshot: Proposal 2 would discontinue state funding to local school districts based on T&E of the educators employed there. This funding would be replaced by an average teacher salary ($50,767) multiplied by the number of teachers employed in the district. Districts earning more than they currently earn under Georgia’s existing T&E system could use additional funding in a flexible manner. School districts that receive fewer dollars than they currently do under T&E would receive additional dollars from a state pool with $88 million earmarked for this purpose.

October/November 2015

“That’s of great concern to me,” said Dr. Susan Mullins, a longtime teacher and PAGE board member who is now a work-based learning director with the Central Educational Center in Newnan, which is part of the Coweta County School System. “That’s the future of our education system. The quality of young people we attract into education is totally affecting the quality of our schools. It’s getting harder for young people to understand why they should enter the education profession.” Mullins believes that the current compensation system, for all its faults, is the best one. When Mullins graduated college and entered the teaching profession about 36 years ago, her mentor was finishing up a master’s degree. That advanced education made the mentor a better advisor and a better educator, Mullins said. “Once I saw what you could accomplish with it — not just pay-wise, but with a bigger knowledge base — I decided to get an advanced degree,” she said. “Having a doctorate means I studied methodology, pedagogy, ways to improve instruction, critique curriculum. I learned how to improve things in a classroom. We should encourage our teachers to go back, train and retrain, and collaborate with people around the country through advanced studies.”


nother problem with changing the formula for teacher compensation is finding the funds for it, England said. “We agree on giving the systems the flexibility to try different models, allowing them to come back with their own if they come up with something. Everyone [on the committee] is on the same page about that,” he said. “But how much should they get for that flexible piece? It would come out of the general fund revenues, but that changes depending on the recovery or the recession of the economy. How will the money be earned by the system to allow that flexibility?” While he and the other committee members hash out these details, some districts in the state are trying out new pay models of their own. Fulton County Schools, for example, is offering an additional $20,000 to October/November 2015

‘Teacher performance is currently evaluated by a model overly reliant on student standardized test scores, which were not developed as a tool to measure teacher effectiveness.’ — Margaret Ciccarelli PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs teachers who will move to low-performing schools, as well as degree tuition reimbursement and a career ladder. Marietta City Schools has also been redesigning its compensation system, first hiring Education Resource Strategies, then working with Greenway Strategy Management to figure out how to reward good teachers without requiring such a slow climb up the pay ladder. “I think some teachers look down the hallway and get very disillusioned. They see some teachers not putting in as much effort, but may have been at the school a long time, getting paid more,” said Dr. Emily Lembeck, superintendent of Marietta City Schools. “All teachers deserve more, but some rise above and go the extra mile.” Marietta has tried out several new strategies, including paying teachers more for taking on additional roles and responsibilities within their schools and offering a limited number of scholarships for those seeking advanced degrees in concentrations that meet a demonstrated need in the school. “That does not replace compensating teachers for their advanced degrees,”

Lembeck added. The district has hired researchers from Kennesaw State University to look at whether the advanced degrees are truly making a difference. In the meantime, the proposed fiscal year 2016 budget for Marietta City Schools included degreerelated salary boosts: a 7.5 percent raise for teachers with a bachelor’s degree, 7.8 percent for a master’s, 8.4 percent for a specialist degree and 4.1 percent for a doctorate degree. “We also looked at compensating teachers based on effectiveness, but that was not piloted due to a lack of sufficient and valid data,” Lembeck said.


eorgia isn’t the first state to grapple with issues surrounding teacher compensation, so the Funding Committee is looking outside state lines for guidance. Michael Griffith, a senior policy analyst with the Education Commission of the States, points to Jeffco Public Schools of Jefferson County in Golden, Colorado, as a possible case study. The district has looked at teacher perforContinued on page 13

As a way to crack the surface of the QBE challenge, the ERC’s Funding Committee — headed by former University of Georgia President Dr. Charles Knapp — decided to home in on the more than $3.5 billion earmarked to adjust annual salaries for teachers’ training and experience (T&E). PAGE ONE  11


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PAGE Special Report: Education Funding in Georgia

PAGE Statement on Educator Compensation Professional educators aren’t afraid of accountability, but accountability measures must be fair and reliable. Current Georgia law mandates that test scores comprise 50 percent of teacher evaluations and 70 percent of school leader evaluations. These percentages should be reduced and the overemphasis on testing addressed.

PAGE believes that in order to improve student outcomes, Georgia schools must attract and retain professional educators who are fairly compensated for their experience and preparation. We appreciate the ERC Funding Committee efforts to continue training and experience (T&E) funding for existing Georgia educators. Salary proposals that fail to account for teacher T&E may create inequities among veteran and new educators. PAGE supports the recruitment of the best and brightest to our profession and supports raising beginning teacher salaries. Redistribution of existing state funding for educator salaries without state budgetary enhancements has the potential to create winners and losers. Education is and must remain a collaborative endeavor. Georgia’s experienced teachers have borne the burden of the recession through furloughs and salary reductions and must successfully mentor tomorrow’s teachers. Both groups must be adequately compensated. Under current Georgia law, Charter and Strategic Waivers School (formerly IE2) systems have the legal authority to implement alternative compensation systems. Forcing all districts to adopt new compensation models or redesign local educator compensation without ample time, study and community input is ill advised. Districts already face difficulty in recruiting

mance but also the additional workloads that teachers are taking on, and gives bonuses that come from a tax increase. “Some districts pay teachers for taking on tasks, like voluntarily increasing their own class sizes,” Griffith said. “If you have 20 kids but take on two or three more, there’s a bonus for that. They don’t have to hire more teachers, so they can pull money out of the budget for that.” Other states have tried a pay-for-performance model, but none has been able to make it work over the long term. “How to measure performance is a really October/November 2015

staff due to differences in local salary supplements above the state minimum salary schedule. Continuing state funding for educator T&E is essential to allow lower-wealth districts to attract and retain a qualified workforce. Any educator compensation system that exacerbates the gap in educator salaries between wealthy and poor districts jeopardizes financially struggling systems’ abilities to recruit and retain a qualified workforce. When considering adjustments to Georgia’s educator compensation system, we hope the ERC will do the following: •  Consider feedback from practicing professional educators and oth-

tricky question. Do you do it based on test scores? Graduation rates? Some other metric that you might come up with?” Griffith said. “No one’s really found a way, especially when you’re talking about teachers in noncore areas like music, art or history, where it’s difficult to determine who’s teaching well as opposed to who’s not. And teachers can’t control whether they have gifted kids or struggling students in their classrooms.” Not only would teachers face even more pressure to “teach the test,” a strategy that critics say already undermines the education system, the pay-for-perfor-

ers in the school community. In order to foster stakeholder buyin on compensation changes, the ERC must move with transparency and deliberate effort to solicit educator feedback. •  Stabilize the current school workforce by continuing state funding for T&E and continue that compensation model option for educators currently enrolled in advanced degree and educator preparation programs. •  Exercise caution when considering tying educator compensation to performance. Professional educators aren’t afraid of accountability, but accountability measures must be fair and reliable. Current Georgia law mandates that test scores comprise 50 percent of teacher evaluations and 70 percent of school leader evaluations. These percentages should be reduced and the overemphasis on testing addressed. •  Consider additional compensation from state allocations for professional educators in high-needs schools and for classroom educators who voluntarily take on additional duties such as mentoring beginning teachers, academic coaching and other leadership roles. •  Ensure that state funding commitments are sustained whenever the state supports initiatives for higher levels of professional preparation such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

mance model would “disincentivize students from entering teaching as a career choice unless local systems once again are required to make up the differences,” Arnold said. “That would be a financial burden that the majority of systems could not overcome.” So states and districts continue to wrestle with the issue of teacher compensation. “We’ve been talking about this for well over 20 years, and at this point states and districts are still struggling with how best to do this,” Griffith said. “Georgia is not n alone.” PAGE ONE  13

PAGE Special Report: Education Funding in Georgia GBPI REPORT

Georgia School Funding Reform Reaches Crossroads; Student Success in the Balance By Claire Suggs, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute Senior Education Policy Analyst


eorgia’s effort to overhaul the formula it uses to split about $8.5 billion per year in state money among its 180 school districts is gaining momentum despite important omissions. A governor-appointed commission appears ready to adopt a new funding method that leaves issues critical to students’ success unaddressed. •  The plan is not based on an examination of the cost of ensuring Georgia’s students reach the high learning goals the state has set for them. •  It locks in $466 million in austerity funding cuts even as school districts already struggle to bring down class sizes that ballooned and provide the elective classes they once did. •  It lacks a careful implementation plan that connects funding reform to broader instructional and organizational reforms. Georgia’s last school funding formula change stood for 30 years in part because it is so difficult to reshape it into something clearly better. Georgia needs to take time get this right.


In January, Gov. Nathan Deal created the Education Reform Commission to examine the state’s public education system and make recommendations to improve it. The commission is focusing on five areas, including school funding. The governor’s charge to the Funding Committee is to develop a new formula to distribute state dollars to public schools to replace the existing 30-year-old Quality Basic Education formula. He is requesting the new approach give school district leaders greater flexibility in how they spend state money. The committee faces the challenging task of reconciling a formula that distributes funds based on an estimated cost of educating each child with a state budget that, for the past 14 years, did not allocate enough money to public schools to cover those costs. It aims to redistribute the current amount of state funding for public


schools, which includes an austerity cut of $466 million in fiscal year 2016. However, Charles Knapp, the commission’s chair, reportedly told a group of local administrators in Atlanta in mid-September he believes the funding gap will close by the beginning of fiscal year 2017. He did not say how this will happen. The reality as this report is published is that a difficult task remains, while the Funding Committee is moving forward quickly with preliminary approval of a new funding model, studentbased budgeting and several of its key components. The committee is scheduled to submit its final recommendations to the governor in December. As currently drawn, the proposed formula extends the flexibility that Charter and Strategic Waivers School (formerly IE2) systems have to spend state dollars. It shifts funds to cover costs for low-income students, who frequently have greater academic needs. The proposed formula is also simpler, which could deepen parents, teachers and other stakeholders’ understanding of how their schools are funded. However, it falls short of ensuring that Georgia’s students are provided the resources needed for a quality education. The proposed formula does not address the following key issues: •  Adequacy: It does not ensure Georgia’s students receive adequate funding to meet the state’s rigorous standards because it is not based on an assessment of what it costs to educate a child. It builds existing austerity cuts into the new formula. •  Implementation: It lacks a comprehensive plan to integrate the new funding formula into a broader effort to improve student outcomes. This entails steps to better understand the specific policies and practices that lead to the greatest improvements in student learning, the cost of putting them into practice and strategies to facilitate their replication. THE QBE PROGRAM

The formula in place today dates back to 1984 when former Gov. Joe Frank Harris

convened a blue ribbon task force to examine school funding. The Education Review Commission developed recommendations for a formula to provide adequate resources and to reduce funding disparities between districts with high local property values and those unable to generate the same amount of local revenue due to lower property wealth. The recommendations served as the basis for the unanimously passed 1985 legislation that established the current funding formula, the QBE program. Since then, state officials tweaked the QBE formula, but did not revise it to reflect changes to ways instruction is delivered. Components of the formula are also rarely adjusted for inflation, so state dollars distributed to districts are not keeping up with today’s costs. Meanwhile, the General Assembly has failed to provide districts with the full formula calculation since 2003. The result? Georgia’s schools suffered through a cumulative shortfall of $8.6 billion over the past 14 years. The ongoing austerity cuts take a toll. Georgia ranked 26th nationally in spending per student the last year the QBE formula was fully funded in 2002. The state fell to 37th by 2013, the most recent year available. That year, per-student spending in Georgia sank to $1,601 below the national average. The QBE formula is a student-weighted formula. It factors in 18 student categories determined by grade level and the academic programs they participate in, such as special education or career, technical and agricultural education programs. It sets a base amount districts receive for every student. The base amount is for a high school student who does not participate in additional academic programs and is $2,463.43 in FY16. Districts receive money on top of the base for students in the 17 other categories. The amount of these supplemental funds is calculated through a weight set for each category and then added to the base amount. The weights are based on the class size for each category, which determines the number of teachers the state will fund for each district. For example, the studentOctober/November 2015

teacher ratio for kindergarten is 15:1 so a district with 75 kindergarteners receives state funding for five kindergarten teachers. The largest student-teacher ratio is 23:1 for high school students. This gives them the lowest per-student cost, which is the reason funding allotted to them is considered the base amount. Similar ratios set the number of other school employees the state will support, such as assistant principals, counselors and media specialists. The state’s schedule for teachers’ salaries determines how much the state distributes to districts for each teacher. It was last updated in the 2008-09 school year. The base salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree is now $33,424. The state supplements that amount based on teachers’ years of experience and advanced degrees in fields related to their instructional area. Some districts add to state funding for teacher salaries, though some cut or eliminated that money from 2010 to 2014 after the state’s austerity cuts topped $1 billion annually. As the state reduced annual austerity cuts, some districts restored or increased salary supplements. The QBE formula also provides funding for maintenance and operations, instructional materials, other instructional and administrative staff and other routine costs. These amounts are determined on a per-student basis and are tied to student categories. Districts receive $71.02 for each kindergartener for materials for the 201516 school year, to cite one example. The formula is rarely adjusted for inflation so state funding often lags behind the true cost of these non-teacher expenses. The formula funds one accountant per district at a total amount of $24,161, for example. It provides $150 per teacher to pay a substitute to cover up to eight days of sick leave. It provides $38,678 for each assistant principal. State regulations that set student-teacher ratios, the salary schedule and other areas govern how districts use QBE money. The state waived these regulations during the 2011 to 2015 fiscal years, as districts struggled to meet their requirements due to austerity cuts. A recent policy change gives districts the opportunity to extend these waivers and use state dollars with greater flexibility. All but two of the state’s 180 districts either have gotten or are applying to be exempt from regulations by becoming Charter or Strategic Waivers School October/November 2015

systems. With this flexibility, districts can adjust class sizes tailored to local student learning needs or available funding, institute new teacher compensation systems, shift funds from one type of position to another and reallocate dollars in other ways to best suit student needs or adapt to fiscal constraints. Districts must meet specific student learning goals to maintain their status as charter or strategic waiver systems. The QBE also includes six categorical grants, which provide additional money for specific purposes. There are four primary ones for equalization, nursing, transportation and sparsity. Equalization is the largest grant category. It is used to distribute extra money to districts with limited ability to raise local revenue for schools due to low property wealth. This school year, 116 districts received equalization grants.

The proposed formula does not ensure Georgia’s students receive adequate funding to meet the state’s rigorous standards because it is not based on an assessment of what it costs to educate a child.


The ERC Funding Committee opened with student-based budgeting as its preferred model. This approach aims to maximize district leaders’ flexibility to spend state dollars, letting them target state money to align with priorities of local students. It attracts considerable attention among some education policy observers and enjoys support across political backgrounds. It holds appeal because it promises to direct additional dollars to highneed students and gives principals more control over their school budgets. It wins support from others because it wraps most state dollars for public schools into a base amount that is allocated for every student. This increased base amount and its portability could help expand school choice options. Student-based budgeting is similar to the QBE formula in many ways. It allocates a base amount of money for each student and provides additional funds for students with greater needs. A key difference is it eliminates mandated class sizes, teacher salary requirements and other state regulations. Proponents describe it as allocating dollars for students rather than staff. Student-based budgeting was first implemented by the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, school district in 1977 in a larger effort to

give school leaders more decision-making authority. School districts in the United States later followed, including Seattle, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Baltimore, Hartford, Connecticut, and Oakland, California. States that recently adopted the approach are Hawaii (2007), Rhode Island (2010) and California (2013). ERC PROPOSAL, AUG. 27

The preliminary decisions of the ERC Funding Committee set a course for a proposed formula that reallocates existing state funding for public schools, or $8.5 billion for FY16. With the possible exception of a temporary infusion of money to help districts transition to the new model and an estimated $88 million for changes in teacher compensation, the proposal does not increase state funding for public schools. This leaves the $466 million austerity cut in the state budget in perpetuity. The elements of the proposal examined here reflect preliminary decisions of the Funding Committee as of its Aug. 27 meeting. The committee can still revise its recommendations before its report is due to the governor in December. The proposed model sets a base amount that districts receive for every student and identifies the categories of students with additional needs who require increased financial resources. The committee has identified 10 student categories: grades 4-8 (base); grades K-3; grades 9-12; economically disadvantaged; English to speakers of other languages; special education-category 1; special education-category 2; special education-category 3; gifted; and career, technical and agricultural education. The base amount for students in grades four through eight is set at $2,046.69 as of the committee’s Aug. 27 meeting. Committee members are making these grades the base as staff from the PAGE ONE  15

PAGE Special Report: Education Funding in Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement report these students require fewer resources than those in high school. High school students often take Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes or dual enrollment classes in a postsecondary institution, as well as use more specialized labs and materials, all of which have added costs. The remaining nine groups get the base amount plus extra dollars determined by a weight intended to reflect the cost to provide additional services to these students. For example, K-3 students are weighted by a factor of 0.2658. Every district receives the base amount for each of its K-3 students under the proposal, boosted by about 27 percent per student, or about $544. The added funds are intended to ensure these students read at grade level by the end of third grade. Districts can use the money to implement any strategy they expect to help students reach this goal. Schools with students who fall into multiple categories get funding for each one. The weights are not based on an assessment of the cost of educating the students in each category. The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement staff developed preliminary weights based on a review of similar category assignments by other states, the QBE formula and under the constraint that funding not exceed the level set in FY16. States vary considerably in the weights assigned to categories and the dollar amounts those weights generate. Many of the categories in the proposed formula are comparable to those in the QBE formula. One addition is for economically disadvantaged students. These students frequently arrive at school with greater instructional needs that require extra resources. Due to changes in federal regulations, these students would be identified under more narrow criteria than now used. This is to avoid overestimating the number of economically disadvantaged stu-

Student-based budgeting eliminates mandated class sizes and teacher salary requirements. 16  PAGE ONE

dents in Georgia, but it could also underestimate them. A comparison of the proposal to the QBE formula requested by committee members shows student-teacher ratio for grades four to eight, the base category, would be 29:1, with lower ratios assumed for other categories. Class sizes are likely to shrink after factoring in additional money based on other weighted categories, according to a presentation the governor’s staff gave the committee. Transportation and nursing will not be funded separately as happens now. Instead, that money will shift to the base amount. Equalization and sparsity grants will remain categorical grants. The Funding Committee apparently will not recommend significant changes to the equalization program. However, it is considering expanding eligibility criteria for sparsity grants to include districts with six or fewer students per square mile or fewer than 3,300 students total. The committee is weighing a requirement that districts also be eligible for equalization grants or other measures of limited financial resources. Districts will also receive state funds for teachers’ retirement and health insurance in the proposed recommendation, which is provided through the State Health Benefit Plan. These are shared costs between districts and the state. TEACHER PERFORMANCE METRICS

The Funding Committee gave preliminary approval to a new policy that significantly changes how teachers are paid at its Aug. 27 meeting. If approved by the General Assembly, the new policy requires every district develop or adopt a new compensation model that includes a measure of teacher performance. Other factors that determine compensation are left up to the districts and could include experience, additional responsibilities, work in high demand fields such as mathematics, advanced degrees or other priorities. All new teachers who begin teaching after an undetermined implementation date will be paid according to their districts’ new compensation models. Districts can continue to pay current teachers under the existing salary structure or move current teachers to their new compensation models. The proposed new policy also would change how state funding

for teachers’ compensation is calculated and distributed to districts if approved. The statewide average teacher salary would first be calculated. A preliminary estimate of that average is $50,767, which does not include salary supplements added by districts and is based on a 7-year-old state salary schedule. This average salary would be multiplied by the number of teachers in the state, and a per-student amount calculated from that. This per-student amount will be added to the student base amount. The proposed teacher compensation model increases the per-student base amount by $51.84. This money comes from state funding that districts might have received for current teachers based on the state average teacher salary above what they would get for teachers under the existing compensation system. Staffers from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement cite research that finds no link between advanced degrees and greater teacher effectiveness. While performance pay models are sparking interest, the research on their effect on student achievement is mixed. Some studies find a positive effect but others do not. Teacher compensation also plays a significant role in total state investment in public schools each year. Under the QBE formula, yearly increases in state spending on public schools are driven by student enrollment growth and salary adjustments for teacher training and experience. The enrollment growth money is used to cover the added costs of new students, so money for teacher training and experience is now the de facto inflation adjustment for teacher salaries. If the new funding model does not provide an increase comparable to the amount generated by the teacher training and experience salary adjustment, future growth in state funding for public schools becomes constrained. This could hamper districts’ ability to pay competitive wages or maintain existing services. IMPLICATIONS FOR STUDENTS

The proposed shift to a student-based budgeting formula could yield benefits. It offers district leaders flexibility to redirect state dollars to fulfill strategic priorities, although most districts already have spending flexibility through strategic waiver or charter systems. The new formula could reallocate money to districts with more low-income students to better reflect the October/November 2015

greater needs of these students. It also contains fewer variables than the current formula, which could help parents, community members and other stakeholders better understand how the state funds schools. Still, the proposed formula falls short of what Georgia’s students need in two key areas: adequacy and implementation. ADEQUACY

The proposed funding formula is not based on an analysis of what districts now spend in state and local dollars, nor is it based on an assessment of what it costs to educate Georgia’s students by today’s standards. Those standards are higher than any previous generation. Omitting consideration of districts’ expenditures makes it impossible to determine if the amount of funding provided reflects current program costs or is sufficient to help students reach the state’s benchmarks. This is true for both the base and weighted amounts. If the committee recommends simply reallocating the current amount of state funding, it will cement austerity cuts now in place into the new formula. The austerity cut is $466 million in Georgia’s 2016 budget, an average loss of $270 per student. This diminished level of funding makes it hard to meet the needs of Georgia’s steadily growing proportion of low-income students, now more than 60 percent of all students and the ninth highest in the nation. It also disregards the majority of empirical studies on the impact of money, which show a positive link between increased funding and student achievement. The proposed formula also lacks a mechanism to account for rising costs due to inflation. This is a challenge under the QBE formula, though its annual adjustment for teacher training and experience helps somewhat pay for teacher compensation. State funding will lag behind students’ needs in the future if the new model lacks an inflation factor while phasing out the annual adjustment for teachers’ salaries. Undergirding all this is the state’s responsibility to provide an adequate public education. The state is steadily increasing expectations for students and teachers to meet the demands of the 21st century’s knowledge-based and globally competitive economy. Georgia instituted multiple measures to hold both students October/November 2015

and teachers accountable for meeting those raised expectations. IMPLEMENTATION

If the committee reallocates the current amount of state funding, austerity cuts will be cemented into the new formula.

The underlying assumption in the shift to a student-based budgeting model is it will lead to improved student achievement without increased funding. A link between this approach and increased achievement is not yet established in the limited research on the topic. Some proponents of this approach acknowledge the model alone will not lead to improved student achievement. Improving achievement requires more than funding reform. It requires research and field-based knowledge of successful policies and practices. It also requires more precise cost information, including school-level expenditures. Districts may differ in how efficiently they use resources. This data can shed light on these differences, why they occur and how they might be addressed. Getting those answers is also critical to determining adequacy. Georgia significantly increased standards and accountability measures in recent years, but it has yet to assess the level of resources needed to meet these standards. Collecting this data will allow that assessment. Districts that implemented the student-based budgeting model, such as Oakland and Cleveland, built the knowledge and skills of principals so they can better align instructional practices, school organization and resources with students’ needs. They also worked to shift their own focus from compliance to technical assistance. A similar effort could be needed at the state level in Georgia.


There are good reasons lawmakers should review the QBE formula. Its 30-year-old creation dates back to when only the most technology-savvy Americans owned a computer and some services are delivered today in ways never imagined then. State regulations could also hamper district leaders’ improvement efforts. Lack of information about cost and effectiveness of different improvement strategies could do the same. The state’s current investment

in public schools might fall short of what is needed to meet the learning goals it sets for students. Lawmakers need to take these issues into account before they remake the state’s formula for distributing state dollars to districts. A comprehensive review allows state leaders to design a funding formula that reflects the true cost to educate Georgia’s children, aligns with student needs and facilitates the use of the best fiscal and instructional practices. The review would take these steps: •  Develop a comprehensive financial data system to collect detailed information about districts’ expenditures, including school-level costs. •  Establish and fund a research agenda that leverages the state’s longitudinal data system and the new financial data system to collect and analyze information on policies and practices to improve student learning and determine how to implement them. This needs to be linked to an effort to monitor and assess the changes districts are undertaking via their Strategic Waivers School or Charter systems plans. •  Develop and implement a plan to facilitate the replication of identified policies and practices, including budgeting. •  Conduct a cost study to estimate how much is needed to ensure all Georgia’s students meet the high standards the state sets. State leaders recently took a similar approach to address the cost of maintaining Georgia’s transportation system, citing its vital role in the state’s economic future. The 2014 comprehensive assessment of current and anticipated transportation needs led the 2015 General Assembly to approve a nearly $1 billion per-year plan to help the state fix identified transportation. Georgia’s students are just as essential to the state’s economic future. State leaders need to use a thorough process like they used to quantify transportation funding to ensure Georgia’s students get sufficient resources to gain the skills and knowledge needed to compete in the 21st century n global economy. PAGE ONE  17

Valdosta State University Department of Early Childhood & Special Education O N L I N E - O N LY P R O G R A M S • Master of Education Degree in Early Childhood Education • Master of Arts in Special Education – General Curriculum • Master of Arts in Special Education – Adapted Curriculum • Education Specialist Degree in Special Education For more information:

M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education This program is designed to build on the Bachelor of Science in Education degree in Early Childhood Education and meets the requirements to earn an upgraded teaching certificate (T5) from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

MAT in Special Education: Adapted Curriculum The MAT Special Education Program in Adapted Curriculum is designed for teachers of students with significant disabilities who are not currently certified in special education-adapted curriculum.

MAT in Special Education: General Curriculum The MAT in Special Education Program in General Curriculum is designed for teachers of students with mild to moderate disabilities who are not currently certified in special education – general curriculum.

Ed.S. in Special Education The Education Specialist Program is designed for





speech pathologists) who wish to advance their professional skills in special education.

A Comprehensive University of the University System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution

PAGE Special Report: Education Funding in Georgia Early Recommendations of the Other ERC Committees By Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs


ov. Nathan Deal’s Education Reform Commission met throughout the summer as have the ERC’s five committees: Teacher Recruitment, Retention & Compensation; Move on When Ready; Early Childhood Education; School Choice; and Funding Formula. Several articles in this issue of PAGE One outline the work of the ERC Funding Committee. What follows is a summary of the preliminary recommendations of the full ERC made by the remaining four ERC committees as of Sept. 8.


School Choice Commitee At its initial meetings, committee members heard recommendations for school choice expansion from charter school, homeschool and school voucher advocates. Public education supporters worried that efforts to amend Georgia’s school funding formula in the other ERC committees would work in conjunction with school choice enhancements to steer more public dollars away from struggling public schools. The ERC Funding Committee’s moves to amend Georgia’s school funding model by redirecting school funding streams, such as funding for educator training and experience, into an enhanced student base, is troubling if voucher and other choice programs are simultaneously expanded. It is unclear, as of this writing, where the School Choice Committee is headed. Move on When Ready Committee •  Move toward competency-based learning and away from student seat time; •  Provide flexibility with standardized testing windows; •  Focus on reading; •  Extend post-secondary options; •  Add multiple graduation pathways. Early Childhood Education Committee •  Increase pre-K lead teacher salary; •  Increase assistant pre-K teacher salary; •  Reduce pre-K class size; •  Provide bond funds for a pilot project to expand pre-K classes into public schools with greatest need. Teacher Recruitment, Retention & Compensation Committee •  Increase starting teacher salary; October/November 2015

•  Enact service-cancellable loans for teachers; •  Add full-year clinical practice model for all teacher preparation programs; •  Compensate classroom teachers for supervising college interns; •  Reimburse new teachers for cost of teacher preparation exams; •  Add signing bonuses in hard-to-staff fields; •  Provide resources for consistent and continued mentoring of new teachers •  Protect planning time; •  Slowdown or stop “new things” piled onto teachers legislatively or by State Board of Education rule. WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE ERC?

the public, and public comment follows full ERC meetings. Meetings are held at the Department of Early Care & Learning, Oak Conference Room, East Tower of the Sloppy Floyd Building, 200 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta, GA 30334. •  Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-noon •  Nov. 19, 2-4 p.m. •  Dec. 15, 10 a.m.-noon ERC material is available and electronic feedback to the ERC can be submitted on Gov. Deal’s website at education-reform-commission. Most ERC recommendations must move through the Georgia General Assembly, which convenes in January 2016. Though ERC proposals may not move through House and Senate education and appropriations committees as education and finance proposals customarily would, the recommendations must still pass the full House and Senate. PAGE recommends that educators contact their House and Senate members now to discuss the important work of the ERC. As always, electronic communication with policymakers should be sent through personal (not school) email accounts outside of n instructional time.

The full ERC and all five ERC committees are expected to meet throughout the fall, and final recommendations are expected in mid-December. When Gov. Deal announced his intention to extend the ERC’s timeline from August 2015 to December 2015, he also referenced his plan to introduce legislation creating a special legislative committee through which ERC recommendations will pass. This reference is significant because it indicates that ERC education recommendations may not move through House and Senate education and appropriations committees. Gov. Deal wants to set up a The current chairs of these four special legislative committee legislative committees also sit on the ERC, and several of the through which ERC legislators have appeared to recommendations pass, thus push for restoration of ongoing austerity cuts and against preventing recommendations initial educator compensation from moving through House proposals.


Educators and other stakeholders are strongly encouraged to follow the work of the ERC and its five committees. PAGE attends all meetings and publishes reports via Facebook and electronic listserv. Sign up for the PAGE listserv at, and like PAGE on Facebook to stay informed. ERC meetings are open to

and Senate education and appropriations committees. The chairs of the four legislative committees also sit on the ERC, and several legislators have pushed for restoration of ongoing austerity cuts and against initial educator compensation proposals. PAGE ONE  19

For Many Students, Ninth Grade Determines Success or Failure in Life By Jamie Loyd, Vice President of Economic Development at Columbus Technical College


tarting ninth grade marks a significant transition point in a young person’s academic journey. Besides the obvious changes related to school setting and instructional content, processes and outcome standards, the transition to ninth grade is accompanied by significant changes in role, status and interpersonal relationships. Research indicates that ninthgrade retention rates and failure rates are higher than any other grade (Smith, 2006). In fact, a ninth-grader is three to five times more likely to fail a class than students in any other grade (SREB, 2002).

with at least a B average have a 50 percent chance of earning a four-year college degree (Bowen, Chingos & McPherson, 2009). Students miss almost three times as many days of school in ninth grade as in eighth grade, and this increase is primarily driven by a significant increase in unexcused absences. Freshmen also report putting in less effort than they had in seventh and eighth grade (Rosenkranz, Torre, Stevens & Allensworth, 2014). The cumulative effect puts students at a disadvantage for high school graduation and for college and career readiness. COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS

ACT defines college readiness as having acquired the knowledge and skills needed to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing, first-year courses at a post-secondary institution. Simply stated, it means not needing to take remedial courses in college. According to Bottoms & Timberlake (2007), many middle school students don’t know what courses they need to graduate from high school, much less how to prepare for college. College and career readiness programs help communicate expectations about what college prep courses students Between eighth and ninth grade, avershould take and they provide support age grades drop by more than half a letter mechanisms to help students develop a grade (0.6 points on a 4-point scale). This decline happens across all performance lev- four‐year course plan to prepare for college. College readiness also means career els. Grades decline largely because students’ readiness. While not all high school graduattendance and study habits plummet ates attend college, the majority of the fastacross the transition to high school — not est growing jobs that pay a salary above the necessarily because the work is harder. poverty line and provide career-advanceDrops in GPA are especially worrisome ment opportunities require knowledge because course performance is extremely and skills comparable to those expected of important for future outcomes. Ninthgrade GPA is an incredibly strong predictor the first-year college student (ACT, 2006). Without strategies for promoting effort and of high school graduation, and high school addressing declines, students are free to fail GPA is the strongest predictor of college just as they start their high school career. graduation — only students who graduate According to ACT (2008), increasing students’ academic achievement and helping them get on target A ninth-grade student is three to for college and career readifive times more likely to fail a class ness has a larger impact on than students in any other grade. college readiness than any single academic enhance-

Ninth-grade GPA is an incredibly strong predictor of high school graduation, and high school GPA is the strongest predictor of college graduation.


ment, whether it be taking a minimum core curriculum, maintaining a B average or taking additional standard or advanced/ honors courses. Collaborations between high schools and colleges reduce the gap between high school graduation requirements and college expectations. Such collaborations have also been shown to increase student engagement by creating structures, instructional experiences, relationships and supports that make it difficult for students to disengage from schooling, thus increasing the number of students staying in school (Edmunds, Willse & Dallas, 2012). Programs that monitor student attendance and engagement, as well as strategies that respond to student withdrawal, can help reverse the decline in grades in the transition to high school (Rosenkranz, et al., 2014). More jobs than ever require education beyond high school. If changes are not made, America in 2018 is expected to have

Collaborations between high schools and colleges create structures, instructional experiences, relationships and supports that make it difficult for students to disengage. more available jobs requiring a college degree than qualified people to fill them (Carnevale, Smith & Strohl, 2010).


Author Jamie Loyd is a certified economic developer and the vice president of economic development at Columbus Technical College. October/November 2015

CITATIONS: •  ACT. (2006). Ready for college and ready for work: Same or different? Iowa City, Iowa: Retrieved Dec. 9, 2014, from policymakers/pdf/ReadinessBrief.pdf. •  ACT. (2008). The Forgotten Middle: Ensuring that all students are on target for college and career readiness before high school. Iowa City, Iowa: Retrieved Dec. 9, 2014, from research/policymakers/pdf/ForgottenMiddle.pdf. •  Bottoms, G. & Timberlake, A. (2007). Giving Students a Chance to Achieve: Getting Off to a Fast & Successful Start in Grade Nine. Southern Regional Education Board. •  Bowen, W.G., Chingos, M.M., and McPherson, M.S. (2009). Crossing the Finish

Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. •  Carnevale, A. P., Smith, N., & Strohl, J. (2010). Help wanted: projections of jobs and education requirements through 2018. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce. •  Edmunds, J., Willse, J., Arshavsky, N., and Dallas, A. (2012). Mandated Engagement: The Impact of Early College High Schools. Greensboro, North Carolina: SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. •  Rosenkranz, T., Torre, M., Stevens, W.D., and Allensworth, E. (2014). Research Brief: Free

to Fail or On-Track to College: Why Grades Drop When Students Enter High School and What Adults Can Do About It. Retrieved Dec. 11, 2014, from free-fail-or-track-college. •  Smith, J.S. (2006). Research summary: Transition from Middle School to High School. Retrieved Dec. 10, 2014, from fulltext/ED538706.pdf. •  Southern Regional Educational Board (2002). Opening Doors to the Future: Preparing Low‐achieving Middle Grades Students to Succeed in High School. Retrieved Dec. 10, 2014, from outstanding_pract.pdf.

Schools Team Up With Columbus Tech

Setting ninth-graders on firm post-secondary path


tarted in fall 2014, the Chattahoochee County High School Freshmen Transition Initiative is a college and career readiness collaboration with Columbus Technical College. The aim is to motivate high school freshman toward post-high school goals and ensure that they consider those goals as they plan and select courses. Goal-related conversations make a student’s high school education more relevant, notes Chattahoochee County High Principal Jim Sims. The program encompasses academic standards and assessment, career exploration, aligning academic skills with college expectations and financial literacy. Students develop a personal graduation plan grounded in their strengths and career goals. The plans must take the student beyond high school graduation through the completion of post-secondary training or college and articulate the transition into a dynamic adult role. If students don’t know why they are in college, they will struggle to stay there and have difficulty making the transition into the workforce and creating self-sufficient lifestyles (Levine, 2005). Students therefore investigate pathways of high-interest jobs consistent with Georgia’s High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI, 2014). Columbus Tech aligns secondary and post-secondary courses using the career pathway matrix. Students are enrolled in the Certified Life & Health Insurance Specialist certificate proOctober/November 2015

gram. As provisional CLHIS students, they take two college-level courses: Business Interaction Skills and Personal Effectiveness. They earn Carnegie units toward their high school requirements and college credits simultaneously. Participants are eligible for Georgia’s HOPE Grant funding as part of the College Credit Now initiative, which covers 80 percent of tuition. Columbus Tech exempts the remaining 20 percent. Courses taken in high school under HOPE do not count against HOPE cap hours. The college’s foundation and the College Access Challenge Grant provide books for students; therefore neither students, parents nor the school system experience out-of-pocket expenses. MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES

•  Basic Skills: Each September, all incoming Chattahoochee County High School freshman take the ACT Asset assessment, which measures academic skills in writing, reading and mathematics. The assessment is given again in April to measure improvement. •  Attendance: Yearly attendance of the freshman cohort is measured against previous cohorts. •  Matriculation to 10th Grade: Matriculation to 10th grade is compared to previous cohorts. •  High School Completion Rate: The freshman cohort will be followed to capture the graduation rate and compared to previous cohort completion rate.

•  Post-secondary Enrollment: The freshman cohort will be tracked to capture post-secondary enrollment and compared to previous cohorts. Although the Chattahoochee County High School Freshmen Transition Initiative only began in September 2014, school administrators are encouraged by preliminary results. Comparing the freshman classes of 2013 to 2015, daily attendance rates rose slightly (about 1 percent) and the number of students who failed three or more classes dropped slightly (1 percent). Although the improvements have been modest, “We see these as early indicators that the program will have lasting effects on our students over their high school career,” said Sims. Nearby K-12 leaders are hoping for improvements as well. Administrators from Stewart and Quitman counties and Spencer and Jordan high schools in Muscogee County have used the model to launch similar initiatives with n Columbus Tech this fall. CITATIONS:

•  High Demand Career Initiative (2014). Retrieved January 14, 2015, from programs-initiatives/high-demandcareer-initiative-hdci/. •  Levine, M. (2005). Ready or not, Here life comes. New York: Simon and Schuster.


Professional Learning HSRI: The Foundation of PAGE Professional Learning

Redesign Process Leads to EngagementFocused Schools, Say Educators By Ann Stucke and Ricky Clemmons, PAGE Professional Learning


Feuerbach said. “Our schools were com‘The HSRI process mitted to growing enables schools to and working together. truly evaluate their After all, the effort to improve student present state while achievement and simultaneously focusing graduation rates must on the future. From span the entire K-12 experience.” interactive workshops In order for transforto the teacher leader mation to occur, PAGE academy, professional learning believes the followopportunities are not focused on ing concepts must be firmly embraced: redelivery, but on specific action •  There exists a plans.’ need and urgency to change the way schools – Principal Marc Feuerbach have traditionally been Cartersville High School organized. •  Educators are professionals and deserve to be treated as •  The work provided to students is such. meaningful and engaging, thus learning is •  The principal’s role is that of the profound. leader of leaders. •  Schools embrace their vital role in •  Leadership is everyone’s business, their community and communicate meanfrom non-certified employees to boards ingfully with all stakeholders. of directors. The HSRI framework revolves around •  Transformation occurs everywhere trust — trust that fosters communication, within the organization. problem-solving and accountability for and with students, educators and community. When trusting relationships are established, teachers are empowered to ‘Engaging, rigorous work is now the design engaging lessons that enable stuimperative at our school. Veteran teachers dents to demonstrate learning in a range are promoting the redesign process and of meaningful ways. “The HSRI process enables schools to truly evaluate their presare preparing lessons that new teachers ent state while simultaneously focusing on observe. And, as those who were resistant the future. From interactive workshops to to changing their teaching methods the teacher leader academy, professional learning opportunities are not focused on are becoming more educated about redelivery, but on specific action plans,” the process, we are seeing more active said Feuerbach. participation in our redesign process.’ “I am very excited that PAGE has provided Cartersville City Schools with the – Principal Dr. Rusty Sowell, Crisp County High School opportunity to be a part of HSRI this year.

he PAGE High School Redesign Initiative is a voluntary school transformation process by which schools become engagement-focused. It is the foundation of all PAGE Professional Learning initiatives. HSRI began with a focus on high schools — thus the name. The thinking was that these schools, which tend to be departmentalized, would especially benefit from developing a culture of engagement. However, HSRI participants now include scores of educators from all levels: elementary, middle and high. HSRI provides professional development, technical assistance and support to schools, and in some cases, entire districts, whose leaders, including teachers, are committed to creating a focus on students and a culture of engagement. When educators all along the K-12 pipeline in a system collectively apply the principles of engagement, the HSRI experience can be exceptionally transformational, said Cartersville High School Principal Marc Feuerbach. “As a middle school principal in Gordon County several years ago, I was a part of the High School Redesign Initiative, as were all the schools in our district,”


October/November 2015

‘Among professional membership organizations, PAGE stands alone in its commitment to investing in the development of educators. It is investing in continuous, systemic professional learning for educators at all levels across the state — and participants need not even be members.’

PAGE ONE Magazine Professional Association of Georgia Educators Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation

– George Thompson, President and Chief Operating Officer, Schlechty Center

Our focus is on giving our students an excellent K-12 experience while preparing them to be college and career ready. HSRI enhances our work in a collaborative, committed way,” he added. “Through our participation in HSRI, Crisp County High School has realized the importance of engaging, rigorous work, and we have learned how to ‘think outside the box,’” said Dr. Rusty Sowell, Crisp County High principal. “Engaging, rigorous work is now the imperative at

our school. Veteran teachers are promoting the redesign process and are preparing lessons that new teachers observe. And, as those who were resistant to changing their teaching methods are becoming more educated about the process, we are seeing more active participation in our redesign process. We plan to continue on the HSRI path because we have a hunger to promote the best opportunities for the success of n our students.”

Title of Publication: PAGE ONE Magazine: Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Publication Number: 1523-6188. Date of filing: September 28, 2015. Frequency of issue: Five times yearly. Number of issues published annually: Five. Location of known office of publication: New South Publishing, Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30350. Owner: Professional Association of Georgia Educators, 2971 Flowers Road South, Suite 151, Atlanta, GA 30341. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Circulation of single issue published nearest to filing date: Total copies printed, 74,484. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter: 0. Mail subscriptions, 73,682. Total paid circulation, 73,682. Free distribution (by mail carrier or other means, including samples) 1,705. Total distribution, 79,387. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 97. Average circulation for each issue in preceding 12 months. Total copies printed, 75,945. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter, 0. Mail subscriptions, 73,944. Total paid circulation, 73,944. Free distribution (by mail, carrier or other means, including samples) 1,905. Total distribution, 75,849. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 96. Percent paid and/or requested circulation: 97.5%.

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October/November 2015

We want you to make an informed decision about the university that’s right for you. For more about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed each program, and other important information, visit


Professional Learning

Leadership Roles of a School Design Team Earlier this year, the PAGE High School Redesign Initiative explored the “Role of Principals and Teacher Leaders in the Creation of a School Design Team.” Eight school teams with about 40 participants attended the two-day retreat. The event, which was led by Judy Love of the Schlechty Center, focused on building leadership capacity and developing collaborative processes.

2 1



October/November 2015





1. Tara Green of W.L. Swain ES (Gordon) 2. Terri Vandiver, Traci McCracken and Bo Campbell of LakeviewFort Oglethorpe HS (Catoosa). 3. Jennifer Patterson, Liz Hoglund, Kellie Woods, Bryan Edge, Justin Gentry and Stephanie Walker of Trion HS (Trion City) 4. Judy Love, senior associate of the Schlechty Center (standing)


5. Dan Lyons and Traci McCracken of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe HS (Catoosa) 6. Linda LiCause of W.L. Swain ES (Gordon) 7. Christy Martin and Pat Hensley of Red Bud MS (Gordon) 8. Jennifer Hayes and Pat Hensley from Red Bud MS (Gordon)

Photography by Meg Thornton

October/November 2015



teach 21st-century learners


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

Technology in the Classroom:

Wake Up! Nearpod for Engagement and Interactive Lectures By Nick Sun, Director of School Support, Dalton Public Schools


o my frustration, it happened in my math classroom. As soon as I stood up to start a lesson, my students thought it was time to check out and snooze. I had to do something. After another day of “resting” during my presentation, I noticed that my students used their BYODs (typically their phones — the device they cannot live without) as they texted and looked up information. Though this is a common occurrence for today’s students, I saw their anticipation for a response, whether by a return message or the picture or video result of a search.

I began to wonder what I could use to get this same engaging behavior and bridge the gap between what my students wanted to do and what I needed them to do. Nearpod came to my rescue. This tool, which was introduced to me at a conference, allows me to upload content via slides, videos, pictures, websites, PDFs and other document types. It then arranges content into a presentation format that can be accessed on student devices. The teacher uses his or her device as the control and swipes through slides to deliver content concurrently to students’ devices. Interactive websites such as Kahoot or videos from Educreations can be added to presentations, as well as videos from YouTube and Twitter streams. Students can engage with the content in real time during the lecture. Students manage their personal space through their device, and the teacher controls content by pushing it to them. Students access content through the Nearpod app or the website. They enter a PIN to join the presentation. Teachers create their own slides or download presentations from the Nearpod library. If you forget to put an activity in a presentation or if inspiration occurs during the lesson, there

The teacher uses his/ her device as the control, and swipes through slides to deliver content concurrently to students’ devices. Interactive websites such as Kahoot or videos from Educreations can be added to presentations, as well as videos from YouTube and Twitter streams. 26  PAGE ONE

is a feature to run a live activity, slide, PDF, video or other content. This feature also enables students to quickly find clarification on a topic or delve deeper. REAL-TIME ACTIVITIES AND FEEDBACK

My students, at first, thought of Nearpod as a glorified PowerPoint. However, here’s the catch that got my students engaged: Nearpod includes activities that the teacher can add in real time to any slide. For example, a slide can have a whiteboard to enable students to illustrate their ideas or graph lines or mathematical conics. Additionally, students can include their own pictures as a response to the teacher’s activity. There are also text-based activities for discussion, matching or filling in the blank. I realized that students anticipated the next slide or activity, and before they knew it, the bell was ringing to end class. Lectures had become interactive and engaging rather than a head-on-desk “listening” activity. Nearpod works as a great contentpresentation platform but it also enables quick feedback. Imagine the ability to present several slides of content and then advancing to the next slide, which happens to be an activity like a mini quiz with questions about the previous content. From the teacher device, you can view student progress, their answers and the class diagnostics. You can then push out individual results to each student so they can see how they did and review their answers. The teacher gets instantaneous feedback and October/November 2015

Why not learn by doing? Check out how Nearpod works: can try a different approach for difficult or misunderstood concepts, rather than wait for a later quiz to discover that students didn’t grasp the content. THE “D” WORD: DIFFERENTIATION WITH HOMEWORK FEATURE

One question from teachers when I was introducing Nearpod was how to differentiate content with students. The answer is “homework,” but not the type of homework students dread. With Nearpod’s homework feature, you can send your presentation to students. The student can control the pace. The activities and assessments occur just like the live presentation and feedback goes to the teacher for review via a report by email. In the classroom, a teacher may create different versions of the presentation and push it out to students depending upon how well they understand the content. The differentiation may include different quiz levels, more or less activities and content, or pacing time for completion. The homework feature also allows presentations to be sent home for a “flipped” classroom.

Teachers can add activities to any slide in real time. For example, a slide can have a whiteboard so students can illustrate ideas or graph lines or mathematical conics. Or students can include their own pictures as a response to the teacher’s activity.

As an additional benefit, I could bridge the language gap for English learner students by incorporating different languages in presentations by providing separate PIN numbers for English or Spanish. All students were engaged and they were learning and understanding concepts at a quicker pace. Teachers began to ask what Nearpod was because students were asking them to use it in their class. Students were learning by doing and experiencing an environment that was both digital and engaging. Oh, and “resting?” No time for that … n we have a Nearpod to do.

Nick Sun, a former math teacher, is the director of instructional technology at Dalton Public Schools. He has a Bachelor of Science from Berry College and an M.B.A. from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


I have used Nearpod for stations in my classroom as well. The presentations can include slides with station instructions, example videos and directions for completion. The embedded activities allow you to assess the quality of work and mastery of content as students rotate through each station. Students feel more like independent discoverers of learning, and the teacher becomes the facilitator of an engaging classroom. The homework and stations features help manage redelivery for students who were absent or need to make up classwork.


Nearpod significantly increased engagement in my classroom. Students anticipated new slides during my lectures. They wanted the feedback from activities so that they could gauge their understanding. They completed activities in stations during the class period instead of taking an extra day to complete them. October/November 2015

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The Educator as Doctor, Nurse, Pharmacist, Patient By Matthew Pence, PAGE Staff Attorney


hroughout the school year, public school educators are often directed to store and administer to students a variety of medications. Moreover, educators are expected to be knowledgeable about the medical impairments of their students. Furthermore, educators often report for duty with medication for their own personal use. Dealing with medication in public schools requires strict adherence to established protocols that educators should not take lightly. The following scenarios are typical of the medication issues that arise in the school setting: Suzie is in the fourth grade. She has an allergy to bee stings and carries an EpiPen. She knows how to administer the EpiPen. One day at recess, she is stung by a bee, but has difficulty injecting the EpiPen. Ms. Jones, her teacher, administers it for her. Amy, an 11th-grader, suffers from severe headaches. She keeps Excedrin in her purse and takes it as needed. During English class, Devon, another student, tells Amy he has a headache. Mrs. Smith, their teacher, sees Amy give him the medication and sees Devon take two pills. The next day, Amy forgets her Excedrin. Mrs. Smith keeps a supply of Tylenol in her file cabinet. She

gives Amy two Tylenol for her headache. Johnny is a special education student who uses a catheter. As part of his IEP, his teachers must change his catheter. Ms. Williams, his teacher, is nervous about doing this duty because she is afraid that she will hurt him. Mr. Greene, a teacher, has a chronic condition that requires him to take a prescription medication every day with lunch. He brings the entire month’s supply of pills to school with him and leaves them hidden away on the bookcase next to his desk. He takes one daily at lunch. THE EDUCATOR AS MEDIC:

The starting point in analyzing legal issues regarding medication is each school system’s medication policy. Generally, school systems in this state require that all medications brought to school by students be stored in a secure centralized location, such as the front office or a nurse’s office. This includes prescription medication and over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol or Advil. The staff or faculty member in charge of medication should make sure that it is identifiable and has an accompanying note from the parent/guardian and the prescribing physician. This should include a description Students often bring over-theof the medication, as counter medication for headaches, well as the instructions for the administration sore throats and muscle aches, but of the medication. many school systems hold this to When administering be a violation of board policy. The medicine, the educator should take the general requirement is that the appropriate steps to student must turn medicine over to ensure that he or she is the person in charge of medication administering the coralong with a note from the parent/ rect medication to the correct student. Also, guardian explaining what the the educator should medication is for and how long the keep a log of medicastudent will need to take it. tion administered to each student on a


given day. Many school systems require this as part of their medication policies. State law does allow students to carry certain medications with them at all times and to self-administer them if the need arises. These three exemptions involve the carrying and administration of auto-injectable epinephrine (EpiPen) by students1, possession and administration of asthma medication2, and certain equipment for the treatment of diabetes3. In each of these circumstances, students are allowed to keep certain needed medications in their possession, such as the EpiPen for allergies or an inhaler for asthma. Diabetic students will have on file with the school a diabetes medical management plan that dictates which medicine and/or equipment the student will possess and administer to himself/herself (if at all). For EpiPens, state law requires both a physician’s authorization of the EpiPen and parent permission for the student to carry the EpiPen. In the example involving Suzie, the student is legally allowed to carry the medication because time lost transporting her to the nurse or transporting her medication from the nurse could result in severe harm. Furthermore, Ms. Jones, her teacher, is allowed to administer the EpiPen to her, as the same state law prohibits liability so long as Ms. Jones does not engage in misconduct that is willful or wanton. Here, Ms. Jones has not engaged in misconduct; in fact, she has behaved appropriately. There seems to be a general expectation among school systems that students should not carry any type of medication unless it falls into one of the exceptions above. While it is common for students, particularly older students, to bring overthe-counter medication for headaches, sore throats and muscle aches, many school systems in Georgia hold this to be a violation of board policy. In situations involving the administration of over-the-counter medicine, the general requirement is that October/November 2015

the student must turn the medication over to the person in charge of medication along with a note from the parent/guardian explaining what the medication is for and how long the student will need to take it. There is no general requirement for an accompanying note from a physician when storing or administering over-the-counter medication. In the scenario involving Amy, Mrs. Smith has behaved inappropriately by allowing Amy to keep the medication. Also, she should not allow Amy to give Devon any medication, regardless if she thinks or knows that it is over-the-counter. THEY WANT ME TO DO WHAT?

Educators should use caution when securing all personal medication by bringing as little as possible into the school and making sure it is in a drawer or cabinet that is locked.

While the administration of a pill or syrup to a student is a relatively easy task, educators might often be called upon to perform what appears to be a more complex medical procedure. Oftentimes, this scenario arises with special education students. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, all schools that receive federal funds must provide disabled children with special education and “related services.” A school system’s personnel do not have to perform medical services. Per IDEA, “medical services” are those services that are provided by a licensed physician. This has been affirmed by the United States Supreme Court.4 The threshold question is whether the delegated duty or service to be provided requires the skill and expertise of a licensed physician. If the answer is no, then the district and its personnel may be legally obligated to perform the duty or provide the service. In the example involving Johnny, the district can be legally required to change a

catheter because that does not require a licensed physician. However, Ms. Williams, his teacher, must take appropriate steps to protect herself from liability, such as securing the appropriate training to perform the duty, communicating her concerns to her administrator and finding another adult to be with her while she performs the duty. THE EDUCATOR AS A PATIENT

Every day, educators report to school with health issues ranging from minor to serious. In these circumstances, many educators bring medication to school. While the starting point remains the local district’s policy, those policies do not often address what steps an educator should take when storing his or her own personal medication. Therefore, educators must behave reasonably. Reasonable behavior in this regard means that the educator must secure the medicine in a manner that keeps it from getting dispersed into the school population. It is best practice to lock the medication in a file cabinet or a drawer. Moreover, only a very limited supply of the medication should be stored at school. Under no circumstances should an educator ever give medicine prescribed to himself or herself to a colleague or a student. From the examples, Mr. Greene is placing himself in peril because he has brought too much medication into the school and is not keeping

2015 PAGE Planner NOVEMBER 3 Future Georgia Educators Day, Middle Georgia State College, Macon

JANUARY 9 PAGE Academic Bowl for

Middle Grades Regionals (various locations)

23 PAGE Academic Bowl

for Middle Grades State Championship, Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville

October/November 2015

FEBRUARY 4 Future Georgia Educators Day, Berry College, Rome

11 Future Georgia Educators Day, Georgia Southwestern University, Americus

23 Future Georgia Educators Day, University of Georgia, Athens

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

it secure. Also from the examples, Mrs. Smith should not give Amy any Tylenol that she brought to the school for her own personal use. It is worth noting here that an educator with a medication issue might best be served by seeking a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. For questions regarding your particular situation and the ADA, feel free to call the PAGE Legal Department and speak to one of the attorneys on staff. THE PRESCRIPTION FOR AVOIDING MEDICATION PITFALLS

Medication laws and policies are written to protect all who enter the public schools. Unsecured medication circulating among students can result in horrible consequences. To best protect themselves and serve their students, educators need to familiarize themselves with local board policies governing medication and become familiar with all medical and health needs of their students. Make sure all medication, including over-the-counter, is secured and stored per the local school system policy. Finally, educators should use caution when securing all personal medication by bringing as little as possible into the school and making sure it is in a drawer or cabinet that is locked. For questions regarding medication or any other legal issue, call the PAGE Legal n Department at 770-216-8555. 1. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-776 (2014). 2. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-774 (2014). 3. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-779 (2014). 4. Cedar Rapids Community School District v. Garret F., 526 U.S. (1999).

Ask Friends to Support You Nov. 12! Nov. 12 is “Georgia Gives Day,” a statewide day of giving that PAGE members and supporters use to provide tax-deductible gifts to PAGE Professional Learning and PAGE Foundation programs, including PAGE STAR, the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon, the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades and PAGE Foundation Scholarships for aspiring and veteran educators. Please share the link GGD/a/pagefoundation and encourage your friends to make a donation. Every gift helps and is appreciated. PAGE ONE  29

Foundation News Hundreds Gather to Honor Robert L. Brown Jr. and R L Brown & Associates Inc. By Lynn G. Varner, Public Relations Manager, PAGE Foundation


capacity crowd gathered in the Egyptian Ballroom of the Fox Theatre Sept. 21 to honor Robert L. Brown Jr. and R L Brown & Associates Inc. at the 11th annual “A PAGE Turning Event.” The event recognizes corporations, foundations and individuals for exemplary support for public school improvement. Throughout his career, the Dublin native has devoted countless volunteer hours in civic and business leadership roles, many of which are education-related. “Years ago, Robert and his wife, Barbara, began their involvement with public school improvement, sharing their time, talent and resources with students at Bob Mathis Elementary School in Decatur. Since then, Robert has mentored Georgia College & State University students through the Georgia Education Mentorship program and held statewide leadership roles through the Georgia Historical Society, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Early Education Commission, Agnes Scott College Board of Trustees and Atlanta “A PAGE Turning Event” honoree Speech School Board of Robert L. Brown Jr. and PAGE Executive Directors,” says PAGE Director Dr. Allene Magill Foundation President John Varner. “He truly understands the vital importance education plays in helping the youth of our state achieve their lifelong goals, and we are delighted to share in this public recognition of his years of devotion to the improvement of public education.” Bernice T. Myers, Brown’s fifth-grade teacher at Susie Dasher Elementary School in Dublin, Georgia, attended the event and was recognized from the podium as Brown’s favorite teacher. Proceeds from “A PAGE Turning Event” support the mission of the PAGE Foundation, which is to support PAGE’s professional learning initiatives and n advocate on behalf of public education and Georgia’s educators.

(l-r): Clyde Tuggle, senior vice president, chief public affairs and communications officer of The Coca-Cola Company and host committee co-chair; Steve Green, president/CEO of Stephen Green Properties and host committee co-chair; Howard J. Morrison Jr., PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees chair; Robert L. Brown Jr., president/CEO of R L Brown & Associates and 2015 “A PAGE Turning Event” honoree; Dr. Allene Magill, PAGE executive director; John Varner, PAGE Foundation president; and Charles E. Richardson, editorial page editor of The Telegraph (Macon) and event master of ceremonies

(l-r): Barbara Willis Brown, R L Brown & Associates vice president/HRM; Robert L. Brown Jr., honoree; Bernice T. Myers, Brown’s favorite teacher; Karen Bowers; and Paul Bowers, Georgia Power chairman, president/CEO

The PAGE Foundation Gratefully Acknowledges Our Sponsors Valedictorian The Coca-Cola Company Georgia-Pacific Georgia Power

Lockheed Martin Stephen Green Properties VALIC Wells Fargo

Salutatorian Adams, Hemingway & Wilson, LLP AT&T Georgia GE Howard and Mary Morrison

Honors Atlantic Capital Board of Regents, University System of Georgia Clark Atlanta University


Cox Enterprises Georgia EMC, Oglethorpe Power, Georgia Transmission The Pendleton Group, LLC Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire, LLC R L Brown & Associates, Inc. United Distributors, Inc. Woodruff Arts Center YKK Corporation of America October/November 2015

Agnes Scott College President Dr. Elizabeth Kiss shares a Coke with Robert!

R L Brown & Associates representatives joined Brown as the company was recognized for its support of public education. (l-r): Clyde Page, construction contract administration director; Robert L. Brown III, business services director; Barbara Willis Brown, vice president/ HRM; Robert L. Brown Jr., president/CEO; Joyce Edwards; and Johnny L. Edwards, design director

(l-r): Eddie Cooper, attorney at Cooper Law Office LLC; Shan Cooper, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company; and Albert Edwards, managing director of CERM

(l-r): Jenny Williams, director of College and Career Transitions for the Technical College System of Georgia; Diane McClearen, director of community and external relations at Oglethorpe Power and PAGE Foundation Trustee; Irene Munn, legislative counsel Office of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle; and Beth Shiroishi, AT&T Georgia president

(l-r): Clyde Tuggle, senior vice president, chief public affairs and communications officer of The Coca-Cola Company and host committee co-chair; Walter M. “Sonny” Deriso Jr., Atlantic Capital chair; Dr. J. David Allen, president/CEO of Dr. J. David Allen & Associates and PAGE Foundation Trustee (retired); Joseph R. Bankoff, the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs chair and professor of the practice and PAGE Foundation Trustee; and Dr. W. Todd Groce, president/CEO of Georgia Historical Society

(l-r): PAGE network attorneys Mason G. Bryan of Adams, Hemingway & Wilson LLP and Andrew M. Magruder of Wilkson and Magruder, LLP; PAGE staff attorney Sean DeVetter; and PAGE High School Redesign Initiative Director Ricky Clemmons

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

October/November 2015


Foundation News PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees Hears From Transformational Educators


eaders from business, journalism, philanthropy, the legal profession and education heard from professional educators who are transforming their schools, in addition to experts on the relationship between poverty and education, during the PAGE Foundation Annual Trustees Meeting in September. “Thanks to the PAGE Professional Learning Department, we were able to introduce our trustees to educators who know the challenge of teaching today’s students from the perspectives of classroom teachers, school administrators, a Regional Education Services Agency executive and researchers who document the major influences on public education,” said PAGE Foundation President John Varner. “We hope the leaders who serve on the foundation board will share what they learned with other leaders, especially those who make policy decisions and those who direct charitable giving for public school transformation.”

Among those invited to meet with the trustees were Ivy Smith and Samuel Clemons from Pine Grove Middle School (Lowndes County), Janet Hendley and Mica Brooks of Hahira Middle School (Lowndes County) and Marc Feuerbach from Cartersville High School (Cartersville City). Oconee RESA Executive Director, PAGE board member and author of “Damaged Goods,” Dr. Hayward Cordy, shared his life story with trustees, demonstrating that poverty is a major challenge for many Georgia students and educators but not an insurmountable obstacle when people work together to help all young people succeed academically. Brooks County School Superintendent Owen Clemons, Red Bud Middle School (Gordon County) Principal Jennifer Hayes and PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill introduced trustees to the significant commitment PAGE and its school partners are making to “Community Conversations,” which are designed to convene community leaders in frank and constructive discussions on how local schools can be transformed to Panelists included (l-r): Janet Hendley and Mica meet the needs of students Brooks, Hahira MS (Lowndes); Marc Feuerbach, and the communities that Cartersville HS, (Cartersville City); and Ivy Smith and support them. Samuel Clemons, Pine Grove MS, (Lowndes) 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 Raulerson District 2 District 9 Dr. Todd Cason Miranda Willingham District 3 District 10 Allison Scenna Shannon Hammond District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand Dr. Sandra Owens District 5 District 12 Nick Zomer Donna Graham District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Dr. Hayward Cordy District 7 TBA Ex-Officio Megan King 32  PAGE ONE

PAGE Foundation Chair Howard J. Morrison Jr. (right) with Dr. Hayward Cordy, Oconee RESA executive director, PAGE board member and author of “Damaged Goods”

Dr. Elena Ponder, Jarod Perry, Stephanie Wellons and Alyce Solomon of Brooks County High School and Bruce Potts, Kerry Davis and Amy Stewart of Sonoraville High School (Gordon County) told trustees that public school transformation is a dynamic process that requires educators to eschew the status quo in favor of constant change in step with the ever-changing needs of today’s students. Other speakers included representatives from the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute and the Southern Education Foundation, who provided data on the rapid growth of poverty among Georgia students and The Impact Project Director David Reynolds, who updated trustees on studies underway to document the effectiveness of PAGE initiatives, primarily in n professional learning.

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 contribution by federal law. Costs for PAGE lobbying on behalf of members are not deductible. PAGE estimates that 7 percent of the nondeductible portion of your 2015-16 dues is allocated to lobbying. PAGE One (ISSN 1523-6188) is mailed to all PAGE members, selected higher education units and other school-related professionals. An annual subscription is included in PAGE membership dues. A subscription for others is $10 annually. Periodicals class nonprofit postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. (USPS 017-347) Postmaster: Send address changes to PAGE One, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141–2270. PAGE One is published five times a year (January, March, May, August and October) by New South Publishing Inc.; 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210; Atlanta, GA 30350; 770-650-1102. Copyright ©2015. October/November 2015

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