How Troup County Is on the Racing Edge of STEM
Uncharted Instruction: PAGE Survey Reveals How Georgia Educators are Adapting to School Closures
The Time Is Now for TRUE ACCOUNTABILITY
Contents May/June 2020
Vol. 41 No. 5
14 Greenpower USA How Troup County Is on the Racing Edge of STEM
2 From the President Together, We Sailed Uncharted Waters
PAGE News 3 PAGE Educator Grants
4 From the Executive Director True Accountability for Georgia Schools: A Better Way Forward
28 Nomination of PAGE Officers & Directors True Accountability 4 A Challenge and Opportunity Amid the Greatest Crisis of our Life Statewide Survey 8 Uncharted Instruction: Georgia Educators Adapting to COVID-19 School Closures
22 Frank Zamora, Johnson High School, Hall County PAGE One Official Publication of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Our core business is to provide professional learning for educators that will enhance professional competence and confidence, build leadership qualities and lead to higher academic achievement for students, while providing the best in membership, legal services and legislative support.
Legal 26 Standards and Best Practices within an Evolving Education Landscape Achievements 30 PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon: Parkview High School Wins State Championship
Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists 20 Lewis Kelly, Newton High School, Newton County
Voices for Higher Education 24 Reflections of a PAGE Engage Academy Participant: A conversation with Dr. Felicia Mayfield
32 PAGE Honors Georgia’s 2020 STAR Students and Teachers
NEW SOUTH PUBLISHING
Executive Editor Craig Harper
President Larry Lebovitz
Production Coordinator Megan Willis
Editor Meg Thornton
Publisher John Hanna
Advertising/Sales Sherry Gasaway 770-650-1102, ext.145 Ginger Roberts 770-330-8955
Editor Cory Sekine-Pettite Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta
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From the President
Together, We Sailed Uncharted Waters Nick Zomer
he following saying has never been truer: “You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you cannot take the classroom out of the teacher.” This spring, classrooms were replaced by dining tables and home offices, and teachers interacted with students via webcams and course-management programs. Through it all, teachers never wavered. It’s also said that educators are on the front lines of history. These days will be remembered as a time when school buildings closed but educators carried
on. Teachers, counselors and administrators were “on” beyond typical school hours, trying to invent strategies to reach students in meaningful ways. Educators did what they do best; they adapted to the uncertain times and continued to put students first. I will never forget how this all started. My administrative team and I were meeting at a conference table discussing staffing issues for next year. Things were going smoothly until we received an email canceling all outside of school activities, including field trips and extracurricular endeavors. You could see the writing on the wall. It was only a matter of time before schools would close and digital learning would become the norm. That email arrived within hours. Immediately, teachers sprang into action. In less than 12 hours after getting the district communication, we had met individually with each grade level at my school and most professional learning communities had planned out their first few days of instruction, if not the first week. This intensity and focus continued for weeks as school closure information was relayed. Each time, you could feel the hearts of teachers tearing just a little more, know-
In my school district, we were scheduled to have a ‘practice’ digital learning day at the end of March. Teachers were to assign lessons for their students to model what would happen in the event of inclement weather. We never made it to that practice day. We learned the ropes as we went along.
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ing that it would be even longer until they could directly interact with their students. But one fact remained: Teachers were not going to let these setbacks keep them from their appointed jobs. No Time for Practice In my school district, we were scheduled to have a “practice” digital learning day at the end of March. Teachers were to assign lessons for their students to model what would happen in the event of inclement weather. We never made it to that practice day. We learned the ropes as we went along. The first few days were filled with anxiety and uncertainty, especially for the teachers. As an assistant principal, I have always felt that my primary role was to support teachers in any way that I can. As we faced this crisis, I made every opportunity to check in on teachers and offer support, whatever that looked like. More than anything, I wanted them to know that their efforts were valued. I knew that this was not an easy experience for them. My inbox was flooded with communications among teachers about approaches they had tried, issues they faced and unexpected situations. As a parent, I got to experience digital learning from the other side as well. I saw the efforts of educators pay off directly through the eyes of my elementary- and middle-grades students. I saw teachers recording daily messages encouraging
$75,000 in Educator Grants Awarded to PAGE Members in April I n April, PAGE awarded grants totaling $75,000 to 168 educators in 146 Georgia school districts. Educators were eligible for up to $500 grants for any purpose that would benefit students, including an educator’s ability to support students. Awarded in two rounds, the grants were distributed proportionally within the PAGE 15 membership service areas and were awarded through a random, distributed selection process from among 1,164 applicants. “Congratulations to each of the educators awarded a grant,” said Craig Harper, executive director of PAGE. “What stood out most in the applications was the heart of educators and their desire to serve students, whether in response to
The funded projects are covering resources, materials, equipment, software and professional learning courses.
learning to continue, and I saw video conferences that assisted in learning. But I also saw heartbreak. I saw children desperately needing the social outlet that comes from school, not only in my own children but those in our neighborhood. The childish excitement of no school was quickly replaced with understanding how much school means to all of us. Parents began to grasp the struggles and battles that teachers face daily, and they expressed their true appreciation for our profession. Collectively, our community missed the schoolhouse and how it enriches our lives. Over time, we began to hit our stride. Expectations for student performance were understood. Teachers figured out a reasonable workload for students. Counselors and administration joined with teachers in helping students and parents manage online assignments. And in some cases, we made home visits.
distance learning and immediate needs or planning for when schools reopen in the fall.” About 82 percent of all recipients were classroom teachers, with the remainder awarded to resource teachers, certified support staff, paraprofessionals and school-based administrators. The projects funded cover a wide range of resources, materials, equipment, software and professional learning courses. About 70 percent of projects directly benefit students and 25 percent aim to help the recipient with professional learning or resources to improve instruction. The remaining 5 percent support a group of educators, such as a grade-level or resource team. PAGE looks forward to sharing photos of what educators are doing with their grants in the coming months. The grants are to be used for the specified projects by Oct. 31, 2020. PAGE funded the grants from operational savings during the COVID-19 crisis while schools were closed and staff followed shelter-in-place orders. n
All Hands on Deck Statewide, the response from educators has been inspiring. Educators found innovative ways to reach students. Emails and phone calls were just the beginning of the process. Teachers coordinated virtual meetings to provide quality instruction to students. Before we needed to shelter at home, some Georgia educators paraded through neighborhoods just to get a glimpse of their students. As the crisis developed, cafeteria workers donned masks and gloves to prepare food for students without ready access to it at home, and school bus drivers delivered the meals. Technology centers found ways to distribute devices to students to use at home. Throughout this ordeal, there was one constant: Georgia’s educational forces rallied to help students be successful — successful in academics, successful in social-emotional learning, successful
in thriving. One day, we will all reenter our classrooms and be able to guide our students face-to-face, in person. But let’s not lose sight of what we have learned during these days. We saw teachers move past the required educational standards in exchange for the social-emotional support that all learners need. As we go forward, we must continue to ensure that learners are supported in all ways, not just academically. In closing, I am humbled and proud to have served as this year’s president of PAGE, especially during this extraordinary time. It is an honor to stand beside you as we all navigate these uncharted waters together. None of us pictured the 2019-2020 schoolyear playing out in this manner, but we are all stronger for having weathered this storm together. And the lessons we have learned will inform all other challenges that come our way. n
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From the Executive Director
True Accountability for Georgia Schools: A Better Way Forward Craig Harper
magine evaluating the effectiveness of a company based on the single measure of its stock price on one day in April this year. Compare that measure against its value in February. Anyone would inherently understand the flaws in that metric. To make it more real, let’s use Delta Airlines — a Georgia company — as our example. Do you believe Delta is ineffective and has failed in its mission to serve the flying public now compared to a few months ago? You know and understand that there are serious, critical issues in the moment and in the near future that affect Delta’s operations and revenue, most of which are outside its control. And, even in normal times, a single metric on any given set of limited data,
would be inappropriate. Yet, for too long, educators and schools have been held to such a standard — a standard that ignores the many important missions of schools
Even in normal times, a single metric taken on a given day would be inappropriate. Yet, for too long, educators and schools have been held to such a standard.
beyond high-stakes tests and that fails to consider in real ways the factors outside the control of schools. Educators demonstrate accountability to their students and communities every day. That’s never been more evident than during this spring’s effort to meet student needs under difficult circumstances. The actions for student benefit won’t ever show up in a typical accountability system. And the fact that a lack of spring testing resulted in the waiver of state and federal test-based accountability indicates the narrow focus, scope and usefulness of these systems. For some, the lack of standardized testing data and test-based accountability is disconcerting because they worry it will give educators a sense of complacency and result in a lack of
The Time Is Now for True Accountability
A Challenge and Opportunity Amid the Greatest Crisis of our Life By John Tanner, executive director, bravEd “
e’ll get back to accountability once this crisis has passed” is a sentiment that has been voiced repeatedly since state testing programs were cancelled for the year. But know this: If it can be put on hold, it is not accountability. In its simplest form, accountability
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is a truth-telling system that communicates what matters most to stakeholders at the moment it most matters. You cannot put it aside and then one day “get back to it.” If you can, it is something other than a meaningful accountability. What is now more obvious than ever
is that accountability should never have been placed on a test score. Strong evidence of how critically and positively connected our public schools are to their stakeholders has existed for years — something the entire country has begun to realize. An educational leader I May/June 2020
effort on behalf of students. I reject that assumption. I know that educators will be working even harder this fall and beyond to make sure their students learn what they need to know to be successful. The task will take much effort, and districts and the state must be equally committed to innovative instructional practices. A better system for accountability exists — a system that provides a more thorough and complete picture of where a school and district are being effective and where challenges must be addressed. It’s called True Accountability for Georgia Schools (TAGS). This accountability framework is being designed and implemented by 10 pilot districts (see map). TAGS communicates in understandable ways for all stakeholders to know what each district commits to accomplish, how well they’re meeting those expectations and where and why they are not. Student achievement and preparation for what’s next is a major part of the system, and can be determined and communicated without relying solely on standardized assessments. Additionally, the framework shows how the district meets its other critical missions that the state model cannot communicate, such as safety and security;
know likes to point out that churches and schools are the only two community structures that traditionally include steeples to signify their importance. The immense value of schools and educators to students, parents and their communities — something long understood by those of us in education — is now being shown to the world. A true accountability system would have revealed this truth long ago, rather than ignoring the value and complexity of schooling by trying to reduce everything to a number or a grade. The best evidence that an organization is truly accountable is its readiness for whatever comes next in the face of uncertainty. The readiness of schools and their leaders for what no one could May/June 2020
The 10 Georgia School Districts Participating in a True Accountability Pilot
Jackson County Oglethorpe County Social Circle City
operations; success in non-tested subjects and activities; staff readiness; and community involvement. TAGS addresses more holistically all that schools do for student benefit; academic success to be sure, but also nutrition, well-being, cooperation and extracurricular pursuits. In the article below, read much more about TAGS and how this accountability framework can better serve students, educators and communities.
PAGE Professional Learning Goes Virtual PAGE’s professional learning team began thinking about virtual opportunities for participants about a year ago. Stay-at-home orders and routine involvement in online conferencing this spring pushed thinking to reality. As Engage Academy cohorts continue (see article on page 24) and new groups form this fall, virtual learning sessions, coaching and follow-up will be part of the experience. If you missed out on an invitation to learn more about PAGE professional learning, look for information on the website or email Angela Garrett at agarrett@ pageinc.org. PAGE Ready to Serve We can expect the coming months will be filled with challenges for educators as state and local budgets experience significant shortfalls, as we worry about safety issues with returning to school, and as we confront the effects of lost instruction time for students. PAGE stands ready to support you through advocacy, support and guidance. You can access resources at www.pageinc.org and by contacting PAGE staff. Thank you for all you do for Georgia’s n students, families and communities.
Accountability is the means for telling the truth about an organization. have imagined was strikingly evident this spring as they demonstrated their ability to accomplish what seemed impossible. They are addressing this crisis with a level of moral and intellectual leadership that those of us in education witness every day. Watching school leaders competently navigate through unprecedented levels of uncertainty should cause critics who view schools through a lens of failure to reconsider the validity of that lens. Georgia educators treated the abrupt
move from the schoolhouse to their own houses as simply what needed to be done. Educators adapted and adopted new methods of distance learning; made innovative use of their transportation systems for packet distribution using the same buses that were also delivering food; and found ways to make Wi-Fi hotspots available where none existed. It may not always have been pretty, and more remains to be Continued on next page
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I would argue that student benefit has taken over as the adjudicating force for decisions because it is all that remains — which is what should have always been. learned, but the speed of that transition does not happen without some sort of prior readiness for the unknown. A true accountability system focuses on its most important stakeholders. For schools, that means students, their parents and their communities. A meaningful accountability system would share knowledge in a form and format those stakeholders can easily understand. Given the evidence of the past few months, the truths that system would tell would be far different than the old narrative that generally begins by presuming that schooling is a failed institution. It wouldn’t sugarcoat anything, but rather, tell the whole truth. That truth would include where a school is or is not yet effective, what it is doing to become more effective, and its readiness for the unexpected. A school (or any organization) is never a perfect place and can always improve, but without the truth, it will be difficult to do so. To be meaningful, an accountability system must include all critical missions of a school and district, such as caring for students and staff in addition to learning and instruction. The degree to which the entire system is working for student benefit depends upon understanding that all pieces are critical. And, let me be clear — that system does not stop working — ever. An accountability system that must pause itself during a crisis needs to stop calling itself an accountability system. That
is the moment when stakeholders are most desperate for a truthful accounting — both the good and the bad — and a system that cannot provide that fails the test of what accountability is and does in effective organizations. For those districts that live and die by testing and CCRPI scores, and that have built lots of infrastructure to lead from “the data” (since that is where they have been told accountability lies), I hope it’s become clear that directing resources, adjusting to immediate needs, facing enormous challenges, and determining the effectiveness of instruction and the needs of leaders didn’t stop in the absence of test scores. In fact, I would argue that student benefit has taken over as the adjudicating force for decisions because it is all that remains — which is what should have always been. Georgia and Texas Take the Lead Even prior to the pandemic, a consortia of school districts in Georgia and Texas had been building true accountability systems. More and more districts across the country were preparing to join the work and will resume as soon as possible. Some critics of public education — and even some educators — have worried out loud that in the absence of test scores, teachers won’t know what to do, or more offensively, they will suddenly stop caring. Although that thinking reflects a gross misunderstanding of what test scores
can and cannot demonstrate, the void created by a lack of state testing is very real. And, that void, in turn, creates a vacuum that will insist on being filled. The goal of those who think that what previously passed for accountability is actual accountability will be to virusproof the old way of doing things1 so that testing is never put on hold again. That would be a mistake. Instead, we must fill the vacuum with how accountability functions within highly effective organizations. In those organizations, accountability is a communications framework both inside and outside the organization that signals to all who need to know where the organization is or is not effective, its readiness for whatever comes next, and what is necessary to get better. This is not a narrowly designed report card filled with metrics that ignore the totality of what the organization is trying to accomplish. True accountability communicates the effectiveness of an organization in meeting its clear missions and lays out the resources and methods required to get there. Our current “accountability” system was never designed to do that. The challenge we now face is the vacuum. A pandemic-proof test, as noted above, is already being imagined. And if history is any guide — from disasters such as Katrina in New Orleans and major political shake-ups, such as the publication of "A Nation at Risk" in 1983, — another likely candidate is a renewed push towards privatization and vouchers. They will be justified as necessary for bringing the enterprise of education back online as quickly as possible once this is over. If we sit back and do nothing, the likelihood of both occurring — or even something we cannot yet imagine — is high. We can fill the vacuum with something that matters.
An accountability system that must pause itself during a crisis needs to stop calling itself an accountability system. That is the moment when stakeholders are most desperate for a truthful accounting — both the good and the bad — and a system that cannot provide that fails the test of what accountability is and does in effective organizations. 6 PAGE ONE
There's No Accountability Template Simply calling an accountability system a communications system would be misleading. Each educational institution must develop its own knowledge base for its specific stakeholders and audiences. The development of the right kinds of knowledge is critical. It is the difference between telling someone what you think they should hear (or simply offering comparisons to other entities) versus addressing specific audiences so that they can hear and understand the actual truth and act accordingly. Only then can the kind of communication that leads to real understanding occur. In other words, accountability is the means for telling the truth about an organization. The truth will certainly influence direction, but direction May/June 2020
Pillars represent the functional missions of schooling. Accountability is required in each.
Safety & Well Being
The very real challenge for educators is that doing anything at the moment other than treading water is virtually impossible. No school leader has an ounce of bandwidth to spare, state budgets — and thus school budgets — will take a huge hit going forward. And, likely, we won’t be done with COVID-19 in the fall. Schools will face the uncertainty of more closures if students or faculty get sick, given that the eradication of the virus or production of a vaccine will likely still be many months off. For the foreseeable future, even treading water may be difficult. And yet the choice before educational leaders is this: 1. Watch the vacuum of test-based accountability get filled by others who do have the attention and resources to take advantage of this opportunity; or, 2. Find a way to get involved in the design, development and implementation of a true accountability system that supports all the missions of schools and communicates the effectiveness of their work to all stakeholders. Simply understanding what accountability is offers us a path forward to grasp the second choice and do it well. In its most basic form, accountability is a knowledge development and transmission system regarding effectiveness and readiness for what comes next. It does not control or steer the work to be done, but rather, develops and transmits knowledge regarding the work performed and the work to be done to those who need to understand.
Student Need is part of an organization’s strategy. Accountability is about execution and the readiness to execute going forward. In an ideal world, we would go through a learning process regarding the underlying foundations of true educational accountability, what it means to think of a school as a learning organization, and how to thoroughly apply the various frameworks that make up this better accountability. We would then apply the frameworks and build each school and district’s true accountability system. That process would take about two years. It is precisely because we have each of the necessary frameworks and a pressing need that a shorter-term effort is both reasonable and possible. That effort should do the following: 1. It should fill the vacuum left by the absence of state testing and show a better way is possible. 2. It should require minimal effort by schools or districts. 3. It must communicate a real understanding of the efforts being undertaken in real time during this crisis and in the future to a wide variety of stakeholders. 4. It should contribute to a bigger picture of what educational accountability should be going forward in Georgia and across the country. As a step towards additional dialogue, the goal should be to demonstrate in part what a true accountability system can communicate to stakeholders. During the pandemic, I have seen
school leader after school leader operate within the frameworks and tools of true accountability, even though they aren’t using the vocabulary or formally using the tools. True accountability is a deeply common-sense function. When common sense is applied, the alignment isn’t a surprise. What remains to be done is to reformat those efforts into the language and frameworks of true accountability, which is an exciting prospect given its potential to contribute to a muchimproved school accountability environment. What is also exciting will be the relative ease with which it can be done. This effort will allow a school’s stakeholders to understand where their schools are effective, where they need to be more effective, and their readiness for what comes next. The fact is that the missions of student well-being, student learning, effective staff and operational excellence have actually accelerated during this crisis, and that needs to be seen, as does where more work is needed. No one expects 100 percent effectiveness in any accountability; they do expect and deserve the truth, which together we can give them. The True Accountability for Georgia Schools (TAGS) districts believe in this work and these frameworks for communicating effectiveness. You are invited to learn more n and to join this movement. 1 “The False and Damaging Premise of School Accountability” at www.pageinc.org/true-accountability. PAGE ONE 7
PAGE Statewide Survey
Uncharted Instruction: Georgia Educators Adapting to COVID-19 School Closures Prepared by PAGE Senior Policy Analyst Claire Suggs
he COVID-19 virus has disrupted the lives of Georgia students, teachers and families. On March 16, 2020, Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order temporarily closing all schools and postsecondary institutions in the state, one of many steps state leaders have taken to stem the rapid spread of the virus. Kemp subsequently closed schools for the remainder of the 20192020 school year to protect the health of Georgians. With scant notice and often little preparation, Georgia’s Pre-K-12 educators pivoted quickly to provide instruction and support to students and parents in almost every community through remote learning experiences. PAGE developed a survey to capture and understand the experiences of Georgia educators during the initial days of the school closure. Responses from over 15,000 educators across the state make clear they are striving to maintain contact with their students and continue nurturing their academic growth. Educators are doing so in difficult circumstances that challenge them and the students and families they serve. The PAGE team continues to review and analyze the extensive information educators shared through the survey. Initial findings fall into two broad categories: remote learning and how educators are responding to the changes spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlights in each area include: Remote Learning: • Is a complex process that requires new skills of educators and expanded resources • Can foster inequities • Engages students unevenly • Relies on high levels of parent engagement 8 PAGE ONE
Educators’ Responses Reveal: • Deep commitment to students • Strain of current circumstances • Concerns about safety and job security This report examines each of these areas, providing more detail from survey responses as well as educators’ written comments. Survey Background PAGE sent the survey to its more than 97,000 members via email on Friday, March 20. The survey was open through Friday, March 27. During this period, school closures were temporary.
After the survey closed, Gov. Kemp announced schools will remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year. In total, 15,321 educators who work in 177 of Georgia’s 180 school districts participated in the survey. Classroom teachers comprise three-quarters of respondents. Remote Learning Over 93 percent of educators report that their districts have shifted to online instruction. Adapting to this instructional format has been uneven for educators and for students. Some educators report a smooth transition to this instructional
Survey Participants Represent Educators Serving in All Roles1
School-level administrator 4%
Classroom teacher 74% Paraprofessional 8% Central office staff 2%
School counselor/social worker 2% Transportation 0% 74%
School nutrition 0% Administrative & support 3% School nurse 0% Other 7%
Percent of Teachers Seeking High-Quality Online Resources format while many others have run into bumps. Feedback from Georgia educators provides insight into how remote learning is being implemented under the current circumstances. Remote learning is a complex process that requires new skills of educators and expanded resources. Feedback from educators indicates that online instruction requires technical knowledge about and access to digital tools to generate instructional content as well as to support students’ use of tools. It also requires pedagogical knowledge about effective online instruction. Some educators gained this knowledge prior to the closure with several explaining that their districts or schools had taken previous steps to integrate technology into instruction. Many educators have limited knowledge about and experience in providing online instruction and are scrambling to acquire it. One indicator of this gap is the portion of teachers who report that converting lessons to online formats is their greatest challenge in shifting to online instruction: 22 percent. Many others also noted this challenge in their written comments. Educator Perspective: “It takes time to convert to online lessons, time to learn new digital technologies, time to type responses to student/parent/coworker questions that would have been more expedient in person... And time is the one commodity we didn’t/don’t have. But we are making it work. Also, in an in-person, real-time classroom, the dialogue that enables teaching and learning is more controlled.” When asked about needed support, the majority of teachers across all grade levels and subject areas identified lists of highquality online resources as the assistance they need most. This was followed by webinars or other web-based professional learning, and access to experts who can provide assistance. In written comments, several teachers noted that school or district leaders disseminated lists of online resources; however, they did not have time in the current circumstances to review the resources, determine which align well with their content and instructional strategies, and learn to use them effectively.
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Educator Perspective: “The vast array of online sources provides too steep of a hill to climb to find good material. There is plenty out there, but I am so busy doing the day to day, I can’t easily hunt down what is good.” Remote learning can foster inequities. While over 93 percent of educators report their districts are providing online instruction, many of their students are not able to access it. Over a third of educators report that lack of student access to online tools and programs is the greatest barrier they face with online instruction. In their written descriptions of challenges with online instruction, nearly 1,000 educators flag lack of student access as a barrier. Poverty appears to be one cause of this gap. Teachers in districts with the highest student poverty rates report the lowest levels of access to online learning while those in districts with the lowest student poverty rates indicate the highest.
Educator Perspective: “I certainly need more training but due to our ‘rural’ majority, many kids don’t have reliable service to participate in Zoom, Skype, etc. Most are using a ‘hotspot’ but they are sharing it with siblings and parents trying to work from home.” Other students who frequently experience barriers to online instruction are those in rural communities, special education students, English language learners and younger students. Often these students do not have access to online instruction or available resources do not meet their needs. Special education teachers and teachers in pre-K through second grade highlighted their concerns about online instruction in written responses. Some special education students need intensive support including one-on-one instruction. They may also need specific tools such as touch screen devices, eye-gazing Continued on next page
Teachers’ Estimate of Portion of Their Students with Reliable Access to Online Instruction2 Districts in highest poverty quintile
Districts in secondhighest poverty quintile
Districts in middle poverty quintile
Districts in secondlowest poverty quintile
Districts in lowest poverty quintile
0 to 20 percent
20 to 40 percent
40 to 60 percent
60 to 80 percent
80 to 100 percent
Do not know
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boards or manipulatives, which are hand-held items that help them understand new concepts and practice skills. This type of instruction does not adapt easily to online teaching, and parents do not have the expert knowledge and skills of these teachers. Teachers in early grades share many of these concerns. Online tools are often not suitable for young children or require ongoing guidance from parents. Special education teachers also express concerns about adhering to documentation and reporting requirements required by the Individualized Education Plans that guide instruction for their students. It is often difficult to comply with these requirements when teachers cannot interact directly with or carefully observe students. Several teachers proposed temporarily waiving these requirements during the COVID-19-triggered closure. Educators indicate that they are supplying students who do not have online access with paper packets of instructional materials. Some note that packets do not resolve all access problems: Students whose families do not have transportation cannot pick up materials at schools, nor can they easily submit completed packets to teachers for review. Educator Perspective: “Students’ access to internet is a challenge but the real challenge is that I teach students with severe and profound disabilities. Students with disabilities require concrete learning. It’s a challenge to teach using the internet. The students don’t all understand what the pictures mean/represent.” Remote learning engages students unevenly. A number of educators noted that some students are not participating in online work or are doing so sporadically for various reasons. Some teachers explained that students are taking care of siblings while parents work, are working themselves, may have to share electronic devices with siblings or navigate other barriers. Other educators described students as not viewing work as important or considering the closure a vacation particularly because it is unclear how and for what students will be held accountable. Educator Perspective: “We don’t know why so many students are not participating. We are working to determine whether 10 PAGE ONE
families don’t feel they have to or if it is a lack of resources or understanding.” “At least some of our middle-school students are having to care for younger siblings and trying to help them with schoolwork, prepare meals while their parents are at work, etc. We’re worried about the stress on those students. Also, many students are disengaged from the online learning they have Internet access, but simply don’t want to do anything. Teachers and administrators keep making contact so that students do the online work (which is simple and minimal).” Remote learning relies on high levels of parent engagement. Many educators expressed a need for greater parent involvement in monitoring and supporting students’ online work. However, they frequently recognized the hurdles that hinder parents’ ability to do so. Parents: • Are working so may have limited time or lack knowledge to assist students • Are unfamiliar with and often confused by the multiple communication tools and educational platforms, which can vary across districts and even schools • Have limited English speaking skills Educator Perspective: “Students and parents are overwhelmed and are having a hard time getting the work completed. Parents are at different academic levels and stress levels, so students aren’t getting equal access to the curriculum. Especially students who are low income or have a disability.” “In addition to not all students having internet access, a challenge has been ability of parents to facilitate online assignments for elementary students, particularly parents who are still working or have multiple students sharing one device. There is also
the matter of students who don’t live in supportive environments at home.” Educators’ Responses Educators have adapted quickly to their evolving context and continue to provide support and instruction to students. Functioning in this new environment has not been easy for many educators, and they described current pressures and future issues. Their survey responses reveal how Georgia educators are experiencing the current circumstances. Georgia educators are deeply committed to students. Though their range of knowledge about and experience using online instruction varied considerably, educators embraced this approach. In only a few days, educators developed and rolled out instructional plans and tools for students. They jumped into trainings to enhance their skills and become technology guides for parents. Over a quarter of educators have purchased items to support remote instruction with their own money. They are emailing, texting and calling students and parents to check in and monitor progress. For many educators, supporting student and parent use of online instruction extends their workday past their “normal” workday. Educator Perspective: “As a teacher, I’m working more than normal because even though we have ‘office hours,’ some of my parents are still working during the day and aren’t able to help their child until they get home, which means I’m getting calls and texts at all hours of the day. I understand that I can enforce the boundaries, but as a caring teacher I’m not going to turn any parent away that is begging for help.”
Food Insecurity Cited by Teachers as Priority Need 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
Educators’ Caretaking Responsibilities
will not be getting paid. I worry about my families not having access to quality food, medicine, health services, and child care both during and after this COVID-19 pandemic.” “Some of my students don’t have access to healthcare. Right now some of my students don’t have transportation to go anywhere and rely on the bus (for) food deliveries so transportation is an issue. They will all need help with employment when the crisis has subsided. A majority pay rent so they will need assistance with paying that rent. These are my concerns for my students.”
Children 43% 40%
Other family member 9% Children and family member 8% None 40%
Educators’ efforts to support students go beyond academics. All districts represented in the survey provide food to students to replace the meals they would have received in school.3 In addition, many are continuing to provide other services including assistance from school counselors and social workers. In some districts, school nurses are also available by phone or email. Educator Perspective: “We have provided devices to take home and a flyer about free internet from Comcast, free lunch and breakfast to all children 18 years and younger regardless of the school system they are in, counseling services and materials are provided through the feeding program happening each day through bus routes, special education services are tailored individually and some ESS teachers have been doing well checks with students and families to be sure they are okay.” When asked about the non-academic needs of students and their families in coping with the effects of the COVID-19 virus, educators lifted up multiple issues of concern. The top issue cited is food insecurity. Approximately 36 percent of all respondents identified it as a priority while 41 percent of teachers did so. While a concern for all teachers, those working with older students cited food insecurity more frequently than teachers in early grades. Child care was identified as a top need by 20 percent of all respondents and 22 percent of those who are teachers. The nearly 3,900 educators who wrote responses to this question offered more insight into the challenges the pandemic May/June 2020
may bring to students and their families. About 15 percent of these respondents said families would need assistance with all of the following issues: • Activities (e.g. games, art materials, books, puzzles) for students while isolating at home • Food insecurity • Transportation • Access to health care • Mental health counseling • Child care • Access to employment services • Legal aid assistance Food insecurity and child care were flagged by many educators in their written responses as was employment services. Educators’ concern for their students and families runs deep.
Georgia educators are strained by current circumstances. Though Georgia educators moved readily into remote learning, many have run into difficulties that generate stress. Unfamiliarity with online instruction and barriers to its use by students are challenges already noted. An additional concern is caretaking responsibilities. Approximately 43 percent of respondents have children under 18, and an additional 8 percent are caring for children and another family member such as an elderly parent or grandparent. About nine percent care for a family member who is not a child. Attending to the needs of children and other family members needing care while attempting to plan for and provide instruction, contact students and parents, participate in staff meetings and training and more while working at home is stretching many educators.
Educator Perspective: “Most of my students come from families of hard-working folks, many of whom work hourly and
Educator Perspective: “I have all the sudden become a homeschooling mom to two children in different grade levels, the lunch Continued on next page
Many Educators & Family Members are in High-Risk Categories for COVID-19 Virus 80 77%
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Percent of Educators Anticipating Future Salary Cuts 35 30
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lady, the custodian, and still a full-time teacher. I teach middle school, so I have 120 students that come from a very lowincome socioeconomic background. I am working more than I ever have and staring at a computer screen all day. My own children? I’m having to run over to them to help them constantly. It does not seem to be feasible. I am proud of all the hard work put into place and being done, but I’m struggling.” “I am personally having to juggle homeschooling my kindergarten daughter, take care of my almost two-year-old son, and still meet daily requirements of attempting to teach in this new format. My husband is in local law enforcement, and therefore, required to be on duty even during these times. Leaving me to carry the burden of all the above mentioned alone.” Georgia educators hold concerns about safety and job security. As they look to the months ahead, Georgia educators identified two key concerns: When it will be safe to return to school and worry about the stability of their income and jobs. Nearly half of all educators or a member of their immediate family are in a high-risk category for the COVID-19 virus. Some groups of educators have higher portions who are at risk. Many educators indicated they do not want to return to schools until it is safe to do so, and there are clear guidelines in place to indicate when students should not come to school due to illness. Educator Perspective: “When we return, there needs to be a way or a requirement
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I worry about the amount of money the school will get in the future because of the economic crisis. I’m also concerned about the possibility of future furloughed days.” “I am a music teacher. Though I’ve signed a contract for 2020-2021, I’m not confident the county will abide by it. I’m worried about the following year because the district may not be able to afford music & art due to the economy, which will have taken quite a hit.”
that students who are ill stay home or the parents receive severe consequences. As a liver transplant recipient what one person may shirk off in a day or two can put me in the hospital or kill me. I don’t like that they let kids who had high temperatures return back to school before we closed just because they said they were better. Masks and infection preventive devices should be available to us who are vulnerable.” “The virus is a real threat & I live with someone who has a compromised immune system. I love the kids but I have my own kids & family to live for & consider first & I don’t want to put them or myself in harm’s way by potentially exposing them to the virus because of premature returns to daily living activities.” To date, most educators have not experienced salary cuts as a result of the school closures. Nearly 96 percent of all respondents report that they continue to be paid their normal wages. However, the portion is lower for two groups of district employees. More than 23 percent of transportation staff and 13 percent of school nutrition workers said they are not being paid their normal salary. While few educators have seen pay cuts, many expect their salaries will be reduced in the future due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teachers also expressed concern about possible budget cuts that may lead to furloughs or reducing staff. Educator Perspective: “I’m concerned about the availability of title funding considering the state that the economy is in.
Conclusion Georgia educators demonstrated creativity, stamina, and compassion in the immediate wake of the unexpected pivot to remote learning and the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their early reflections on this experience point to strengths to celebrate and considerations to examine and address. One urgent consideration is ensuring that all students, regardless of location and wealth, can reliably access online learning. Other areas to review include professional learning for educators, a process to vet and disseminate high-quality online tools, and appropriate strategies and tools for students with additional needs and those in early grades. The PAGE team continues to analyze the information shared by Georgia educators, and will maintain communication with educators as they adapt to the circumstances that unfold in the months ahead. This continued communication will enable the team to lift up educators’ questions and concerns with policymakn ers to inform their decisions. Footnotes: 1. Transportation employees make up 0.36 percent of respondents, school nutrition 0.28 percent, and school nurses 0.35 percent. 2. The measure of poverty used is the percentage of students who qualify for direct certification. Students identified as direct certification are those whose families receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, Temporary Aid to Needy Families benefits, are homeless, unaccompanied youth, in foster care or are migrants. 3. Educators in Early County report that the district suspended food service to students as the county is experiencing an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. According to its website, Echols County Schools is partnering with local organizations to provide meals to students and, per its website, Chickamauga City Schools is collaborating with Walker County Schools to offer students’ food.
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14â&#x20AC;&#x201A; PAGE ONE
How Troup County Is on the Racing Edge of STEM
By Scotty Brewington or Chip Giles, Greenpower USA is more than a cool STEM activity to get middle and high schoolers excited about technology and engineering — it’s a passion. As part of the Greenpower program, students work in teams to build a steel-frame, single-seat electric racecar — complete with hand controls and a steering wheel — from a kit, and then participate in live race events all over the country. A few years ago, Giles, the assistant director of transportation for the Troup County Board of Education, visited Madison, Alabama, where he saw his first Greenpower car. Not long after, each of the three middle schools in Troup County had their first car kit. It was such a hit that last year, each of those schools purchased a second one. “Now, each Troup County middle school has two cars, and Long Cane Middle School won first and second place in the country in 2019,” said Giles, who now serves as the Greenpower USA coordinator for the Troup County School System. “That’s pretty strong for a second-year team.” Continued on next page
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Giles’ Excitement is Contagious Last year, he presented the Greenpower program to The Callaway Foundation and made a pitch for a five-year grant of over $300,000 that would pay for a program in every elementary, middle and high school in Troup County, including both public and private schools. He got it. Today, every school in Troup County has funding for a Greenpower car kit, the necessary safety equipment to race, and professional learning opportunities for all coaches. “We’re in the process of rolling that out now and hope to have a 100 percent rollout by this time next year,” said Giles. “We also go around and present to other districts and
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everyone is nuts about the program. We’ve met with a team from College Park that is currently No. 1 in the stock division and another team in DeKalb County that has an elementary, middle and high school team coming online. We believe this will be the biggest, most successful emerging STEM activity in Georgia the next five years.” What is Greenpower USA? Greenpower USA is a STEM initiative designed to get young people excited about sustainable engineering and technology and advance education in STEM subjects through engineering challenges based around designing and building a racecar. Greenpower has been around internationally for more than two decades with teams, cars and races in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Poland and China. The US-based program, Greenpower USA, began in Huntsville, Alabama, in 2014 as a workforce-development initiative by the city’s strong aerospace community. Today, Greenpower USA has hundreds of teams across the country with more than 25 major sanctioned racing events each year. There are two kinds of Greenpower car kits, both manufactured in England, Greenpower’s worldwide headquarters: the Formula Goblin, for fourth- through sixth-grade teams, and the Formula 24 for middle- and high-school teams. The Goblin kit costs around $2,000 and the Formula 24 kit costs around $5,000. Each team also needs around $1,000 worth of tools and safety equipment to build a car and compete. Though the initial investment is somewhat expensive, the cars can last for decades. Once the car is initially constructed from the groundup, teams can completely tear down and reassemble the car year after year or complete partial or system rebuilds each year, which is more common. “We’re still running the same kits here three years later and many schools in the U.S. are running the same kits six years later. Schools overseas have been running the same kits for 20 years,” said Giles. “This is an investment that lasts a long, long time.”
Not only does building and racing the car provide students and teachers with access to industry-leading technology and support the teaching of STEM subjects, it also exposes students to a wide variety of career choices, which in turn strengthens college and career readiness. Greenpower also brings the community together, promoting social inclusion of economically disadvantaged schools and students and inviting local businesses into schools to get involved with the project. One of the goals of the program, Giles said, is to keep costs down for both schools and students. Many teams, as well as racing events, solicit corporate sponsors to offset program costs, as evidenced by the numerous prominent corporate stickers present on many of the racecars and trailers on race day. “The coach of a high school team we work with in Huntsville told me they have businesses and aerospace engineering companies come to races and offer their teams internships right there in the pits,” said Giles. “Businesses love this. They really like the connectivity between the business community and their future workforce.” Last year, there were 14 Greenpower USA events across the country. This year, there are more than 20 events planned. Two of these races are hosted in Georgia, both in LaGrange. The most recent was held at Callaway Stadium at LaGrange College in February, where 31 top middle and high school teams in the nation competed in the Second Annual Diverse Power Grand Prix. To date, LaGrange College has offered more than $575,000 in scholarships to Greenpower USA racers at its sponsored events. Though Troup County’s high school teams are still working on their cars and were not ready to race in February, there were six Georgia teams competing in the event, including both teams from Long Cane Middle School, two teams from Gardner Newman Middle School, a middle school team from The Main Street Academy in College Park and a high school team from Harlem, Georgia. The Formula 24 event included an
Endurance Race to see how many laps each car could run in 90 minutes without having to stop and change batteries, a 30-minute Rookie Race for team members who have never been a driver or who are not expected to drive this season, and a Pit Crew Smackdown, which gives teams a chance to showcase their teamwork through a series of actions to earn the title of Pit Crew Smackdown Champion. A Program with Longevity Matthew Graham, the Greenpower USA teacher at Long Cane Middle School, runs his two defending middle school 2019 national championship teams as an elective technology and engineering program. Students meet for a one-hour Greenpower Tech class each day and have to apply for the popular Cougar Strong Racing program, which is now in its third year. “I had about 100 students apply this year and I narrowed that down to 30 kids. About half of those are carryovers from last year,” said Graham. “With one of the cars, we tore it down and rebuilt it and we maintained and retuned the other. It’s different every year. The kids make decisions on body panels and nose cone design. They can change anything except for the batteries, motor and geometry of the frame and chassis.” In addition to mechanical engineering and basic electricity, aerodynamics Continued on next page
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Not only does building and racing the cars provide students and teachers with STEM support and access to industry-leading technology ... and energy-conservation skills, students learn teamwork, tool basics, project management, fundraising, marketing and public relations. The race itself only makes up half of the program. During a race event, 50 percent of a team’s score depends on track performance and the other 50 percent depends on a team presentation, which is given in front of an independent panel of judges. Each event has a different theme. The February event’s theme was “Your Team’s Path to Success,” and teams were required to create a presentation and infographic on the Visme platform, one of the race’s sponsors. The presentation had to include a business plan, marketing and recruiting plan, as well as answer various technical questions. “This keeps an academic component to the program,” said Giles. “Teams spend a long time working on their presentations — much longer than working on the car. Our kids are very good at speaking in front of others in a business environment.” Building a Team and Getting Started When it comes to building a Greenpower team at your middle school, there is no set formula. A good strategy, according to Giles, is to start with a team of around 15 students including 6th, 7th and 8th graders so that as students “age out” of middle school, other team members can work themselves into leadership positions. “You shouldn’t fill your team with eighth graders just because they are easier to work with and sixth graders are more imma-
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ture,” said Giles. “You want to always keep talent in your pipeline.” It’s also critical to recruit for specific positions when building a new team, Giles said. If you do it right, the kids — not the coaches — should drive the program. “I tell new coaches you have to find two to three drivers and a crew chief who has final say over what to do with the car. That leader typically emerges when you start building your car,” said Giles. “Then, you need two to four builders, some kids who are good on social media, and some who are good at building and giving presentations. You have to give kids specific jobs and make them understand that we all have to do our job if we’re going to be successful.” In the Greenpower program, girls often fill many of these critical roles. “There is a 35 percent female participation rate in Greenpower for girls nationally,” said Giles. “That’s an incredibly high percentage compared to other STEM programs.” Chloe Morris, an eighth grader at Long Cane Middle School, was the first girl driver on the school’s #000 team the first year her school had a car. She was a driver for two years, but stepped down this year, her third on the team, to give others a chance to drive. Instead, she is serving as the team’s photographer. Morris said that to join the Greenpower team, she and her teammates had to write an application essay. “I have always loved mechanics and working on cars,” said Morris. “I help my Dad work on his truck and just thought it would be so cool to work on my own racecar.” “Chloe is a big role model for other girls on the team,” said Landen Gogel, a seventh grader and assistant pit crew chief on Long Cane’s #999 team. “They all look up to Chloe and want to be like her one day.” For Gogel, who was a member of the pit crew
... it also exposes students to a wide variety of career choices, which in turn strengthens college and career readiness. and build team last year, Greenpower has been inspiring. Even though he and Morris are on different teams, they represent the same school. “No matter who places first, we’re all from the same school,” said Gogel. “Being on the team has made me realize that it’s not just a one-man job — it’s everyone’s job. If we didn’t have everyone working together, getting the car ready and building the presentation, we would be stuck in last place right now. It all balances out.” At the February event, out of 20 competing middle school teams, Long Cane Middle School’s #000 team placed first overall and the #999 team placed second overall. Looking Ahead Over the past six years, Greenpower USA has grown from a few teams in Huntsville, Alabama, to more than 350 teams in 15 states across the country. By next year, Giles expects to have more than 30 Greenpower USA teams in Troup County competing at the elementary, middle and high school level. There are also several teams in Columbus, Georgia, expected to come online later this year, Giles said. The Greenpower USA race season runs October to early May. Though Lagrange is currently the only place in Georgia hosting races, Giles expects this to change. “We’re on the verge of exploding across the state,” said Giles. For schools interested in starting a team, the Greenpower USA organization provides support for everything from ordering car kits to creating class curriculum and building the actual cars. The organization even offers multi-day summer training sessions in Huntsville to show teachers how to build the car from top to bottom so that they are prepared to train their students.
“I taught middle school math for 10 years and when my district heard about Greenpower, they wanted to try it out and asked me to build a racecar,” said Drew Sparks, president of Greenpower USA. “I ran a pilot program in August 2014 and have been doing it ever since.” Sparks, who is based in Huntsville, has gotten to watch his initial team of students grow. Many of them recently graduated this past May and several are pursuing careers in engineering. One student is following a career in event planning after watching and helping Sparks plan multiple Greenpower USA racing events. “If there is anyone out there still thinking about doing this — if you are still on the fence — this completely changed my view on how we teach children. It works. What these kids are able to do now is just amazing,” Sparks said. “What you don’t see is that we had a team break a steering wheel this morning on race day and a competitor just gave them one to use. They are modifying something someone else made so that they can race. We really are a family here.” Interested in creating a GreenpowerUSA team at your school? Visit www.greenpowerusa. net, contact Drew Sparks at drew.sparks@ greenpowerusa.net or contact Chip Giles at n firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This is a continuing series of PAGE One profiling throughout the school year Georgia's 2020 Teacher of the Year finalists.
2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist
Newton High School, Newton County
Photo courtesy of Newton Citizen
By Meg Thornton, PAGE One Editor
ewis Kelly, a physical science and epidemiology teacher at Newton High School, admits that teaching was never his ambition. As a youth in Decatur and Chamblee, his dreams were focused on athletics and living “the good life.” But after retirement from the NFL in 2007, Kelly sought a career where he could help young people discover their worth and raise their self-esteem. Like all great teachers, Kelly is attuned to his students’ emotions and individual learning styles. This was driven home a
few years ago when a struggling student (he referred to as MB) returned from suspension without having completed his assignments at home and then complained that he was not ready for the test. “At this point, my inward non-teacher self was livid and ready to set this male adolescent in his place,” said Kelly. “However, the father in me explained, with vim and verve, to MB the importance of education, and that he would be prepared if he completed the work and participated in the review game. I assured him he would be fine for the test.” Kelly knew that MB would do fine because he knew the student was an auditory learner. “Even though he was without note-taking instruments, MB participated in every lecture and assignment when he was in class,” said Kelly. As it turns out, MB earned a B on the test. Kelly helps all of his students understand their own learning — Lewis Kelly, Newton High School styles to help them succeed. “This identification helps my students
‘One is rarely afforded second chances in life; students need to understand this lesson now while the consequences are less detrimental.’
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know how they process information.” As a physical science teacher, Kelly takes a fun, age-appropriate and effective approach to teaching Newton’s Laws of force, mass, acceleration and inertia: “In 10th grade, students embark on the right of passage of earning their driver’s license, and driving heavily depends on Newton’s Laws,” said Kelly. To illustrate this, his students participate in a “rollie chair” race whereby teams of two take turns pushing each other around the “racetrack” (hallway) competing with another team. “The students learn to negotiate curves, accelerate, use appropriate force to move their partner, determine frame of reference, use friction to initiate movement and change their velocity,” he added. After the activity, students answer questions and complete calculations. “I relate the activity to driving by explaining how engineers use Newton’s Laws and physics calculations to determine speeds for highways, roads and curves,” he said. “My students have a better understanding of the reason for reduced speed around a curve because many teams crashed or had to stop because their speed was too great to navigate the turn.” Relating School to Future Success Kelly ensures his students see a connection between their classroom success and their eventual success in life. “I explain to them that they will need certain characteristics to survive as adults, such as discipline, a good work ethic, the ability to meet deadlines, prioritization and teamwork, to name a few. I analogize turning in a project late to paying a mortgage late. I explain that the bank will only accept late or half payments for so long before they evict you and place your belongings on the curb,” he said. He also fosters the necessity of teamwork. Group assignments demonstrate the importance of being able to effectively work with a diverse group and being accountable to each other. May/June 2020
E A R FI N A
simultaneously digging a hole beneath me. I became discouraged because my test scores were not exemplary …. despite my best efforts,” he said. “I became so bogged down with new and exciting researchedbased instructional strategies and overfocusing on pedagogy and assessments that I lost my true purpose.” That frustration led him to reflect. “I focused on the time before I became an educator,” he said. “After the NFL, I wanted my life to have meaning and purpose. I desired a career that positively impacted lives and allowed me to pour my knowledge and wisdom into the next generation. That’s why I became a teacher,
ACHER O F EY
Kelly serves as his school’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) coach and is a big believer in the program. “PBIS contributes positively to the culture of our school because it sets clear guidelines and expectations for each student and illustrates positive outcomes for positive behavior,” he said. “It inspires ‘the can do’ instead of ‘the cannot’ with student behavior. … The premise is that by focusing on the positive behavior of one or a group of students, others will want to engage in the same behavior.” One example of PBIS at work in the school is “No Tardy Parties” for students who have not received a tardy during a certain timeframe. Students party with music, food and games in the gym. “They enjoy the celebration, and data have indicated a drop in tardies and tardy referrals,” said Kelly. According to Kelly, a major issue facing public education today is decreased student accountability — a crucial trait for success in life. “One is rarely afforded second chances in life; students need to understand this lesson now while the consequences are less detrimental,” he said. “My students may not remember how to read a periodic table or calculate the velocity of the car they are driving, but my hope is that each student will remember the life lessons I taught to ensure their success.” Kelly is using his platform as a Teacher of the Year finalist to help educators understand that all their long hours of agonizing over plans to devise entertaining, engaging and innovative lessons are not wasted. He advises educators to clearly define their vision by revisiting why they entered the field. “I often reflect on a quote by Jon Gordon: ‘We don’t get burned out because of what we do, we get burned out because we forget why we do it,’” he said. Due to the overload of standardized testing, Kelly, himself, faced burnout a few years ago. “I felt like I was running in place while
Kelly helps students grasp Newton’s Laws of Motion by having them participate in 'rollie chair' races in the hallway. They learn to negotiate curves, accelerate, use appropriate force to move their partner, determine frame of reference, use friction to initiate movement and change their velocity.
so my message to my fellow educators would be to rediscover their ‘why’ for what they do.” Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from South Carolina State University. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2000, where he played professional football for four years. He then played with the New York Giants for two years before retiring in 2007. After earning a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix, he began his teaching career in 2011 at Luella High School in Locust Grove. In 2014, he joined the faculty at n Newton High School.
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2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist
Johnson High School, Hall County By Meg Thornton, PAGE One Editor
rank Zamora’s Johnson High School students are immersed in real-world learning, and they’re improving their community as a result.
In one lesson that Zamora created with a coworker, his students studied the role of migrant workers in the United States. Tasks involved research, production, service and reflection. Students read articles, watched videos, interacted with guest speakers and took park in class discussions. “My students were touched after learning about the struggles of the migrant students, and were shocked to find out that there were 435 migrant children in Hall County alone that year,” said Zamora, whose family immi-
When studying George Washington, students identified three pieces of advice given by the first president, and then researched current events that illustrate whether our country follows that advice today. 22 PAGE ONE
grated to Hall from Mexico when he was five years old. After brainstorming, Zamora’s students developed “Unwrap Humanity,” a service project to provide every migrant child in Hall County with a Christmas present. Working in groups, the students involved the entire school community and, to garner support, they developed a mission statement, logo, theme song, content, social media and a website. Students volunteered their time before or after school to organize and wrap the gifts. On the last day of the campaign, they loaded the 435 boxes into a van that delivered the presents. In the end, the students saw the value of their promotional materials and were able to connect their classroom work with a real-world experience. May/June 2020
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‘Dreamers, if admitted to college, are required to pay out-of-state tuition, making it nearly impossible for these students to afford, as they do not qualify for financial aid, ... It is frustrating to see that every year, as seniors prepare to graduate and decide the next step, many do not get to make that decision.’
empowering students through leadership, knowledge and service, club members witness firsthand the power of unity and action. In monthly meetings, students engage in educational and social topics, and they each participate in 20-plus hours of community service annually. “We also host several events outside of school hours, such as leadership workshops, educational events, — Frank Zamora, Johnson High School fundraisers, community service projects and social events where students find a safe atmosphere and a sense “It was an amazing experience for all to of belonging,” said Zamora. see the joy and the feeling of accomplishThe Knight’s Creed of Johnson High ment, knowing that because of their hard School serves as the driving force work, every single migrant child in Hall behind the club. Latino Knights of County received a small present,” said Service stresses honesty, respect, perZamora, adding that the program was sonal responsibility and using talents repeated last Christmas. to make a positive difference. “It has Zamora believes that students need contributed to the overall school culture opportunities throughout their school of love, compassion and belonging,” career to build character, discover the said Zamora. “At each event hosted by power of teamwork and participate in LKS, club members are to be honest and serving others. The most important respectful to everyone they encounter. takeaway of the migrant workers project Being a Latino Knight of Service requires is that it allowed the students to witness responsibility and being selfless, as they the impact their actions can have, he are expected to put their talents at the said. service of others,” added Zamora, the club sponsor. “Hosting so many events Inclusivity Is a Priority throughout the school year takes time, In 2016, Zamora and parent liaison hard work and sacrifices from all parties Patricia Zamora (his sister) felt the need involved. However, it is such a rewarding to create a school club for students who experience to watch students take ownwere not involved in extracurricular ership, grow, and engage in leadership activities. and service.” “We wanted to make sure every His students have also worked to feed student at JHS had the opportunity to food-insecure residents, visit the elderly, belong to something, regardless of their teach soccer to elementary students background, GPA or athletic skill,” he and beautify Hall County. “My students said. Thus they founded the Latino have not only connected with the world Knights of Service, now one of the around them but have had a positive school’s largest clubs. With a mission of impact on it,” he stated. May/June 2020
Current Events Have Deep Roots Zamora believes that in order to fully prepare students for adulthood, they need opportunities to connect what they learn in the classroom to the world around them. “As a social studies teacher, I am a firm believer that knowing the past helps students better understand and prepare for the future,” he said. His students are required to continually research and discuss current events in connection to the unit of study. For example, when studying George Washington, students identified three pieces of advice given by the first president, and then researched current events that illustrate whether our country follows that advice today. Due to Zamora’s participation in the Humanities Honors Academy, his students have the opportunity to earn the International Skills Diploma Seal. Those students are required to complete an international education curriculum and engage in extracurricular activities with an international focus. As their capstone project, students are mentored by local professionals and then present their projects to the community at large. One particular aspect of public education that breaks Zamora’s heart is the near exclusion of non-documented students from pursuing a college degree. “Dreamers, if admitted to college, are required to pay out-of-state tuition, making it nearly impossible for these students to afford, as they do not qualify for financial aid,” he said. “They are left out of a system that uses higher education as a means of social mobility. In Georgia, they are (chiefly) banned from the finest higher education institution regardless of their high GPAs and test scores,” he added. “It is frustrating to see that every year, as seniors prepare to graduate and decide the next step, many do not get to make that decision. … I have seen too many dreams crushed, too many innocent faces cry, and so many bright minds halted.” Zamora earned a degree in social studies education from the University of Georgia and he holds an ESOL endorsement. In his eighth year of teaching at Johnson High, he is the social studies chair, varsity head soccer coach and serves on the school n improvement team. PAGE ONE 23
Voices for Higher Education
Reflections of a PAGE Engage Academy Participant A conversation with Dr. Felicia Mayfield
s the inaugural year of the PAGE Engage Academy drew to a close, we had a conversation with Dr. Felicia Mayfield, associate professor and chair of curriculum and instruction at Clark Atlanta University, who participated in one of the many PAGE Engage Academy cohorts facilitated throughout the state. Dr. Mayfield provides first-hand insights regarding the success of this initiative.
PAGE One: What word comes to mind when you reflect on your PAGE Engage Academy experience thus far? Dr. Mayfield: I would balk at using a single word because the experiences were so varied and rich. That being said, I would start with “comprehensive,” because we have effectively addressed a broad range of ideas, strategies and conceptual frameworks in a short period of time. In addition to exposure to complex and cohesive information, my first few days at the PAGE Engage Academy were very affirming. I say affirming because some of the practices shared were similar to what I had cultivated as a 36-year P-12 educator, and a 10-years-and-counting higher education veteran. The things I know about teaching as an art form were repeatedly validated as the facilitators shared a client-centered model for designing teaching and learning moments.
‘Adopting, even momentarily, the view of another person really helped us see how we need to entertain possibilities that we might not have considered before, without this dialogue.’
PAGE One: Tell us about your initial reaction to PAGE Engage Academy, specifically the first session. Dr. Mayfield: When I entered the room that first morning, it was filled with enthusiastic classroom teachers, P-12 administrators, and post-secondary personnel. The atmosphere was 24 PAGE ONE
that of a family reunion! Although there were a few school teams sprinkled throughout the room, the general atmosphere was definitely “family-ish.” There was a polite din produced by educators from around Georgia — mainly the metro Atlanta area — but regardless of where we worked, we immediately started talking and connecting with one another. As is often the case, we received warm welcomes from the PAGE staff, and then a facilitator, who was from the Schlechty Center, led us through a series of activities to help us clarify our individual beliefs and assumptions about how to best approach teaching and learning. We “went deep” to harvest our most intimate motivations for teaching. The breadth and depth of the groups’ collective beliefs about engagement and teaching were truly eye-opening. The activities seemed to resemble what the business world calls supplychain management. What do I mean by that? Well, as educators, we start with a concept to convey to a group of students. We start with a supply of knowledge, and it passes through steps, materials, and delivery modalities to get to the end user — the students in the classroom. The facilitator guided us through exercises that led us to appreciate the difference between delivering pedagogy in a more traditional model and designing learning with the end users’ needs in mind. It was during these lessons that the late Dr. Phil Schlechty’s thoughts on the infrastructure for design were revealed and explained in a very meaningful way. PAGE One: That’s quite a full day! Was the next session an extension of content and concepts or were new ideas introduced? Dr. Mayfield: The second time we met, most of the faces were familiar but there were a few new people in our group. There was genuine excitement in the air as new acquaintances quickly became colleagues working toward the common goal of sharing our understanding about the tenets of design. As was the case on day one, we again had access to a lot of resources, including media clips, inside an online portal, and we engaged with each other repeatedly, in May/June 2020
pairs and in teams, to solidify purpose, intent, and outcomes related to design. Whereas on the first day of training we remained comfortable with our individual and preferred points of view, on the second day we departed our respective comfort zones to argue for other priorities related to design. The strongest activities were the testimonials of success on how and when a given perspective worked the best. We talked with our peers from the perspective of experts and true believers in the principles of design, including our “favorites” and our least preferred. Adopting, even momentarily, the view of another person really helped us see how we need to entertain possibilities that we might not have considered before, without this dialogue. PAGE One: It sounds like the level of understanding is deepening with each opportunity to be immersed in this work. Is that an accurate assessment of what you are taking away from this experience? Dr. Mayfield: Yes, the overall impact of these three days is immeasurable because new insight is the gift that keeps on giving. One practical example is a workbook on lesson planning that I just finished for my pre-service teachers. With my newfound knowledge from PAGE Engage Academy, I was able to design a more helpful product from the perspective of pre-service teachers’ needs. For years, I had lectured on the components of a good lesson plan as part of my methods courses. As a result of these PAGE Engage Academy sessions, I felt that an e-Workbook would better meet the needs of my college pre-service teachers and give them a product for future reference. The new format for addressing lesson planning and design would also allow for practice of InTASC standards*, eliminate presumptions, and emphasize the need and respect for diversity of thinking and creativity. The e-Workbook is just one example, of course, because the benefits of the Engage Academy do not end there. PAGE One: Is there anything else you would like to share about your most recent experience — the third of four sessions scheduled for this first of two years? Dr. Mayfield: Yes. It was very enlightening to see how our work even embedded a view of teaching and learning through a lens of engineering. By that I mean, how does one construct learning with fidelity and strength to deliver a durable product that allows for creativity? This is not the typical training inside teacher preparation coursework. Until PAGE had the foresight to guide educators across May/June 2020
Georgia out of traditional professional learning silos into a higher-order thinking vista for problem solving, we were a bit stuck. What PAGE has done here is simply revolutionary. Through its partnership with the Schlechty Center, PAGE has honored the complexity of what teachers do by using design principles to help students learn. This is key: The three sessions I have attended have consistently adhered to core tenets by modeling protocols that demonstrate meaningful design and delivery for the learner — that is, those of us who were participants. So, we haven’t merely attended another round of benign lectures. Instead, we have actually been engaged, just as the title of this professional learning initiative suggests. After all, what is more complicated than what occurs when a brain changes and becomes smarter? We have only scratched the surface of what I view as limitless possibilities, and we still have five more sessions of the Engage Academy to go! I cannot wait to get smarter, so that I can help future teachers get smarter, so that they can help students get smarter. I want to thank PAGE for being a conduit for this vital support and encouragement!
‘We have only scratched the surface of what I view as limitless possibilities, and we still have five more sessions of the Engage Academy to go! I cannot wait to get smarter, so that I can help future teachers get smarter, so that they can help students get smarter.’
PAGE One: That’s a great place to close. Thank you, Dr. Mayfield, for sharing your reflections about PAGE Engage Academy, and for your obvious enthusiasm about the potential benefits of shifting one’s thinking and practices related to designing work for students, of all ages. Dr. Mayfield: You’re most welcome and, if I may, I would like to say one more thing. PAGE One: Of course. Sure. Dr. Mayfield: I want to circle back to your opening question, about the one-word descriptor. I said “comprehensive” and that’s true. Yet, now that we’ve talked today, I realize that I should really add another word: riveting. PAGE Engage Academy has been absolutely riveting! I am so glad that I am part of this learning experience. n And I am so looking forward to next year! *programs.ccsso.org/projects/interstate_new_ teacher_assessment_and_support_consortium/
For information about joining a 2020-2021 PAGE Engage Academy cohort, please contact Angela Garrett at email@example.com.
PAGE ONE 25
Standards and Best Practices within an Evolving Education Landscape
By Lauren Wilmer, PAGE Staff Attorney
AGE Legal Department is working hard to represent our members during this unprecedented time. As always, we encourage any member who has an employment-related legal concern to contact the legal department. We continue to address unique issues as Georgia educators remain on the front lines of this novel education landscape. While we are facing new challenges, PAGE Legal reminds our members to maintain best professional practices in accordance with local school board policies and the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators. Educators must remain diligent in maintaining professionalism while being tasked with “distance learning,” increased technology and communicating with students over new mediums. The following standards from the Code of Ethics are just some of the most relevant professional best practices in light of these new challenges Georgia educators are facing.
dents, both in and outside the classroom … . Unethical conduct includes, but is not limited to … soliciting, encouraging, or consummating an inappropriate written, verbal, electronic, or physical relationship with a student … .”1 An educator can be sanctioned by the school district and/or the PSC for inappropriate written or electronic communications with students and/or colleagues. Now, more than ever, as most educators are relying on electronic communication with students, they must be mindful to maintain only professional relationships with students,. Educators should not add students to their personal social media pages or engage in conversations with students through non-approved mediums, such as text messages, Snapchat, social media sites, etc. Remember that any text message, phone call or e-mail that demonstrates a less-than-professional relationship with the student may be seen as a violation of this standard.
Standard 2: Conduct with Students Standard 2 (Conduct with Students) states “an educator shall always maintain a professional relationship with all stu-
Standard 9: Professionalism Standard 9 (Professionalism) states “An educator shall demonstrate conduct that follows generally recognized professional
Educators must remain diligent in maintaining professionalism while being tasked with ‘distance learning,’ increased technology and communicating with students over new mediums. 26 PAGE ONE
standards and preserves the dignity and integrity of the education profession. Unethical conduct includes but is not limited to … any conduct that impairs and/or diminishes the certificate holder’s ability to function professionally in his or her employment position ... .”2 Under this standard, Georgia educators should refrain from conduct on social media that their employer or the PSC could view as unprofessional, and thus unethical. As we move through this pandemic and beyond, individual district decisions may receive a great deal of community inquiry and input. Educators should be mindful NOT to share district decisions in a negative light, correspondence with employees or others regarding those decisions, or air any other workrelated grievances over social media. Many school boards across the state have begun to draft board policies surrounding employee use of social media. Educators should consult their local school board policies to see if a social media policy exists in their county. Educators can be sanctioned by their county and/or the PSC for unprofessional social media use, even when it is the educator’s personal social media page. Standard 7: Confidential Information Standard 7 (Confidential Information) states “an educator shall comply with state and federal laws and state school board policies relating to the confidentiality of student and personnel records … and other information. Unethical
conduct includes, but is not limited (to)… sharing of confidential information concerning student academic and disciplinary records, health and medical information, family status … unless such is required or permitted by law … .”3 Under this standard, Georgia educators must refrain from breaching confidentiality of students and their families. Educators should be mindful not to divulge verbally or through written communication the status of medical tests, etc., with individuals who do not have a right to know. Educators should be careful in verifying who their email correspondences are going to when discussing confidential information and verifying that the parties have a right to the information. Furthermore, do not share over social media information that could be n considered confidential. Footnotes: 1. PSC rule 505-6-.01 (3)(b) 2. PSC rule 505-6-.01 (3)(i) 3. PSC rule 505-6-.01 (3)(g)
Helpful Resources Rules and guidance from our state agencies are changing rapidly, so be sure to seek the most up-to-date information. Below are helpful resources: Georgia Department of Education, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Schools [for information on making up missed days, evaluations, salary, edTPA, and more.] www.georgiainsights.com/educators.html Georgia Department of Education, Communications [for released statements from State School Superintendent.] www.gadoe.org/ExternalAffairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/default.aspx Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Certification Flexibility due to COVID-19 [description of flexibility afforded to each category of applicant] www.gapsc.com/Certification/Downloads/Certification_Flexibility_due_to_ COVID-19_Table.pdf Georgia Professional Standards Commission, COVID-19 Certification Guidance [dated March 19, 2020] www.gapsc.com/Certification/ Downloads/COVID-19_Certification_Guidance.pdf Teachers Retirement System of Georgia, Newsroom [for information on Teacher Retirement System and any changes for those who are applying to retire.] www.trsga.com/news/ Office of Governor, 2020 Executive Orders [full text of all executive orders issued from Governor Brian Kemp.] gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/ executive-orders/2020-executive-orders
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PAGE ONE 27
Nomination of PAGE Officers & Directors The following PAGE members have been nominated to serve on the 2020-2021 PAGE Board of Directors. The president-elect, secretary and treasurer are elected for one-year terms. Directors serve for three-year terms (on a staggered basis). Only active PAGE members in good standing are eligible to be officers and directors. Directors must have their place of business / office in the district in which they serve.
Nominees for 2020-2021 PAGE Officers and Directors President
Lindsey Martin, Lowndes County
Megan King, Houston County
Dr. Susan Mullins, Coweta County
Lamar Scott (incumbent), Elbert County District 9 Director Incumbent: Jennie Persinger (Term expires 6/30/2023) District 10 Director Incumbent: Khrista Henry (Term expires 6/30/2023)
District 11 Director
Incumbent: Amy Carter (Term expires 6/30/2023)
District 12 Director
Incumbent: TaKera Harris (Term expires 6/30/2023)
District 13 Director
Incumbent: Daerzio Harris (Term expires 6/30/2023) 28â&#x20AC;&#x201A; PAGE ONE
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Master of Education Adult & Career Education Communication Disorders Curriculum & Instruction in Accomplished Teaching Early Childhood Education Educational Leadership Health & Physical Education Instructional Technology Middle Grades Education Music Education School Counseling Special Education Deaf & Hard of Hearing
Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Foreign Language Education Middle Grades Education Music Education Secondary Education Special Education Adapted Curriculum Special Education Deaf & Hard of Hearing Special Education General Curriculum Endorsements English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Gifted K-5 Mathematics K-5 Science Online Teaching Reading
PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon
Parkview High School Wins State Championship
Gwinnett County’s Parkview High School
By Michelle Crawford, PAGE GAD State Director
winnett County’s Parkview High School, coached by Melodie Carr and Jeff Hall, captured the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD) State Championship. This year marks the high school’s third championship. The team, which scored the highest points overall in Division I and
II, was presented the Howard Stroud Championship Trophy and earned the privilege to represent Georgia in the USAD National competition. For the first time, Georgia was to be represented by six teams in the United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) National competitions. Unfortunately, due to
COVID-19, the competitions, which had been scheduled to begin in late April both online and in Anchorage, Alaska, were cancelled. The two-day GAD state competition was held in February at Gwinnett’s Parkview High School. More than 170 high school
Catoosa County’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School 30 PAGE ONE
Students collect their medals at the awards banquet
students from across the state competed. The United States Academic Decathlon is unique because each nine-member team is made up of three Honors students; three Scholastic students; and three Varsity students, as determined by their USAD grade-point averages. Each year the program features a different overall curriculum topic; this year’s curriculum is In Sickness and In Health: An Exploration of Illness and Wellness. The decathlon is composed of following events: • Testing in seven content areas (economics, art, literature, mathematics, science, social science and music). • Three communication events (speech, interview and written essay). • Super Quiz is the final, collaborative event comprised of questions from the seven testing areas. It is the only public event; this year it was emceed by Fox 5’s Paul Milliken. Following are the team results from the state competition. (A complete listing, including individual medalists, can be found at www.pageinc.org/ GADStateWinners.)
Super Quiz concludes the 2020 state competition May/June 2020
DIVISION I (LARGE SCHOOL) STATE WINNERS Division I Champion and State Champion Gwinnett County’s Parkview High School, coached by Melodie Carr, and Jeff Hall First Runner-up and USAD Large School Online Representative Carroll County’s Villa Rica High School, coached by Cynthia Cox, Sarah Triplett and Russell Bennett Second Runner-up and USAD Invited Division Representative Muscogee County’s Columbus High School, coached by Maribeth Hood and Jan Carter
DIVISION II (SMALL SCHOOL) STATE WINNERS: Division II Champion and USAD Division IV Representative Catoosa County’s Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School, coached by Jessica Chandler, Lisa Beck and Ian Beck First Runner-up and USAD Medium School Online Representative Muscogee County’s William Henry Shaw High School, coached by Jordan Hatch Second Runner-up and USAD Small School Online Representative Richmond County’s Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, coached by Melodie Spires-Howe and James Samaha ROOKIE OF THE YEAR Rome City Schools’ Rome High School, coached by Adeline Watkins, was named Rookie of the Year, awarded to the highest-scoring team making its first appearance at state competition. SUPER QUIZ COMPETITION WINNERS: Champion: Catoosa County’s LakeviewFort Oglethorpe High School First runner-up: Richmond County’s AR Johnson Health, Science and Engineering Magnet School, coached by Tanji Moon Second runner-up: Gwinnett County’s Berkmar High School, coached by Christopher Pae and Marissa Markley The state competition is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Kennesaw State University partners with PAGE by hosting and providing expert speakers for the GAD Fall Workshop. Gwinnett County Public Schools hosts the state competition. n
Photos by Chris Savas and Nadeen Pagano PAGE ONE 31
PAGE Honors Georgia’s 2020 STAR Students and Teachers The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program honors Georgia’s highest achieving high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development. To earn the STAR designation, students must meet criteria based on SAT score, school ranking, and written and intra-personal skills. The students compete on local, regional and state levels. Among this year’s 574 STAR honorees, 21 students and 21 teachers were named regional STAR winners. Due to the COVID-19 virus, the PAGE STAR State Banquet scheduled for April was cancelled. As with so many other events around the state and country, we were compelled to think of the safety and health of all participants. We offer our thanks and appreciation to the many organizations that sponsor local and region events and the STAR banquet, and we look forward to working together again next year. To see this year’s STAR winners, please visit www. pageinc.org/star and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
2 0 2 0
OFFICERS President: Nick Zomer President-Elect: Lindsey Martin Treasurer: Lamar Scott Past President: Dr. Hayward Cordy Secretary: Megan King DIRECTORS District 1 District 8 Dr. Oatanisha Dawson Joy Robinson District 2 District 9 Brecca Pope Jennie Persinger District 3 District 10 Mary Case Khrista Henry District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand Amy Carter District 5 District 12 Dr. Shannon Watkins TaKera Harris District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Daerzio Harris District 7 Lance James DIRECTORS REPRESENTING RETIRED MEMBERS Vickie Hammond Dr. Sheryl Holmes
32 PAGE ONE
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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: Meg Thornton, firstname.lastname@example.org; PAGE One, PAGE, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141-2270; 770-216-8555 or 800-334-6861. Contributions/gifts to the PAGE Foundation are deductible as charitable contributions by federal law. Costs for PAGE lobbying on behalf of members are not deductible. PAGE estimates that 7 percent of the nondeductible portion of your 2019-20 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 ©2020 .
With my background in the classroom and my education and experience with instructional technology, I can reassure parents and teachers that we can deliver quality education that reaches students in new and different ways. I loved the instructional technology program. I was able to do it at my own pace, sometimes just one class a semester. I want to continue working with Georgia Southern because I had fun in my classes, and I have developed lasting partnerships with my professors.
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• Elementary Education, M.Ed. • Middle Grades Education, M.Ed. • Secondary Education, M.Ed. • Elementary Education, Ed.S. • Teacher Leadership, Ed.S. • Endorsements • Autism • K-5 Science • Coaching • Reading • ESOL • Gifted† • K-5 Math • STEM
• Educational Leadership (P-12 Tier One), M.Ed. • Educational Leadership (P-12 Tier Two), Ed.S. • Educational Leadership (P-12 Tier One) Certification Only (Non-Degree) • Educational Leadership (P-12 Tier Two) Certification Only (Non-Degree) • Educational Leadership, Ph.D. ↗ • P-12 School Leadership • Higher Education Leadership* • Higher Education Leadership, M.Ed.*
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Mercer University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Education programs that lead to initial and advanced certification are approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).