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October/November 2018

Election 2018

Candidate Positions on Education Testing Private School Tax Credit Poverty School Safety Rural Georgia School Funding Teacher Retention & Pay Teachers Retirement System


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Contents

October/November 2018

Vol. 40 No. 2

7

Features

07 Election 2018: Candidate Positions on Education •  Candidate Responses to PAGE Questions

•  Candidate Positions at a Glance • A Primer on Georgia Tuition Tax Credits and Vouchers •  State School Superintendent Candidate Forum

Columns

Departments

4  From the President “You Gave Me the Will to be Respectful and Responsible”

Spotlight on Middle Georgia 20  Bibb County Top Teachers Address Emotional Needs of Students

5  From the Executive Director Your Vote May Impact School Funding, Student Services and Testing

PAGE News 27  Three Seasoned Educators Join PAGE Staff Professional Learning 28  Your Classroom, Your Students: Best Practices, Research and Going to Scale

20  Middle and South Georgia Has an Alarming Percentage of Impoverished Students Legal 22  PAGE Attorneys Brief Each Other on Topical Cases Involving Georgia Educators 24  Avoid Common Mistakes Made on Certificate Applications

Student Programs 30  PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon Curriculum Encompasses the 1960s, Lasers and Tom Stoppard 31  2018 PAGE Foundation Scholarship Recipients Announced

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20 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.

October/November 2018

EDITORIAL STAFF

NEW SOUTH PUBLISHING

Executive Editor Craig Harper

President Larry Lebovitz

Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta

Editor Meg Thornton

Publisher John Hanna

Production Coordinator Megan Willis

Contributing Editor Lynn Varner

Editor Cory Sekine-Pettite

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

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From the President

“You Gave Me the Will to Be Respectful and Responsible” Dr. Hayward Cordy

“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” — Dr. James Comer, MD, MPH, Professor of Child Psychiatry, Yale University

“I

’m doing this tribute to you because I think you deserve recognition for all that you have done to influence my life. There are a number of things to thank you for, but the three most important lessons you have taught me are to keep good grades, to have a positive attitude and to be responsible. … I always looked up to you because I don’t have my father around me all the time. I hope you understand that you gave me the will to be respectful and responsible. You remembered that I had a little brother and sister to look after. You reminded me that my mom needs me. Thank you for those encouraging words, and thanks for being there when I needed you most.” (Reginald, 1996) A 10th grader, who was a former middle school student of mine, wrote those words. He presented me with the message in a wooden picture frame he made in his industrial arts class. My interactions with that student were relational and personal. Upon seeing him in the hall one day, I did not berate him or tell him to come to my office for further discipline. Instead, I called him by name and let him know that I knew that he had an older brother and a younger

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brother and sister who would model themselves after him. I demonstrated that I valued him enough to know his name and family situation. I used this as an opportunity to teach him that he was responsible for his behavior and that his situation was subject to change and that his future was bright. Christian writer Josh McDowell, author of “The Disconnected Generation” (2000), theorizes that children and adult caregivers are connected by relationships, not by rules. Rules without relationship result in rebellion, while rules as part of a strong relationship elicit positive outcomes. Building relationships with students does not mean becoming their buddy. It means getting to know students as individuals. It means insisting on high-quality work and offering support. It means managing classroom behavior without slighting a student’s dignity. It means separating the child from the behavior, realizing that behavior can change while who the child is remains constant. Educators build positive relationships with students in various ways. In “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” (2003), Ruby Payne and her colleagues

asked high school students to cite indicators of being shown respect by the teacher. Students identified the following: •  The teacher calls me by my name. •  The teacher answers my questions. •  The teacher talks to me respectfully. •  The teacher notices me and says “Hi.” •  The teacher helps me when I need help. In his book “Motivating Students Who Don’t Care” (1995), Allen Mendler cites a technique that I have found useful. It is called the 2-Minute Intervention, whereby the teacher invests two uninterrupted, undivided minutes a day for 10-consecutive days for the purpose of building a positive relationship with a particular student. During this time, the teacher initiates contact with the student about anything appropriate, except negative academic progress or behavior. The teacher might speak to the child in the cafeteria or at a ballgame, for example. Until we teach to the souls of children, we will not see in them sustained academic and behavioral progress. When we reach students on an emotional level, their view of themselves and their ability to self-regulate improves, as does their n hope for a brighter future.

October/November 2018


From the Executive Director

Your Vote May Impact School Funding, Student Services and Testing

T

he political season is upon us — or maybe it never stopped. It seems it’s a 24/7/365 cycle these days with wall-to-wall news coverage and the constant back-and-forth on social media. PAGE is doing its part to inform educators on the views of key, statewide candidates who will directly influence education in the next four years, and we encourage you to read candidate responses to a PAGE survey in this issue of PAGE One. You also can hear directly from superintendent candidates Richard Woods (incumbent) and Otha Thornton from their participation in the PAGE Education Forum hosted by Georgia Public Broadcasting (http://www.gpb. org/pageforum). Additionally, Director of Legislative Affairs Margaret Ciccarelli and I summarized some of the major views of gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp to kick off the GPB-hosted forum. Considering our survey responses and education policy discussions at various levels in recent months, there is reasonable anticipation for more supportive policy decisions for educators and students. This is indicated in three major areas: budget, wraparound services and emphasis on high-stakes testing. It’s impossible to know if we can make as much progress as we’d like as quickly as we’d like, but attitudes are moving in the correct direction, and PAGE will do all it can to push forward. The General Assembly eliminated austerity cuts for fiscal year 2019

Craig Harper for the first time in 16 years. By doing so, Gov. Nathan Deal took the final step in a multiyear effort to fund Georgia’s allocation formula for education. It was a wise and savvy political move because Deal can take full credit for ending austerity, which positively bolsters his legacy while virtually guaranteeing education funding will continue at that level — at a minimum — for the near future. Georgia’s economy is strong and growing stronger. The next governor cannot make a case fiscally or politically to implement austerity cuts now that funds have been restored. And, neither candidate has indicated he or she would reduce the education budget. Abrams proposes expanding the budget, especially for student support, and would make an effort to curtail or eliminate the tax-credit program, which takes money away from education and

Only a couple of years ago, any mention of poverty as a factor in how well a school and its students performed resulted in derision as a weak, unsubstantiated excuse by the education community for poor teaching and bad teachers.

other critical services. Kemp does not specifically discuss whether he would recommend expanding the education budget. He does mention increasing the state schedule for beginning teachers and extending it beyond the current 21 years of experience limit, which would require additional funding or funding adjustments within the budget. Other budget areas to watch are related to the Teachers Retirement System and healthcare benefits. PAGE will continue to be a strong advocate on these issues with legislators and agency heads. All candidates support wraparound services as a means to combat the negative effects of poverty and trauma and boost support in rural areas. While the term wraparound services is a fairly new way to describe the multitude of socialemotional supports that help students and families address non-academic needs so that students can be more successful, schools often have provided the only services a student might access. Policymakers and community leaders finally seem to have realized that outside-of-school influences are the major factor in school success. Only a couple of years ago, any mention of poverty as a factor in how well a school and its students performed resulted in derision as a weak, unsubstantiated excuse by the education community for poor teaching and bad teachers. The evidence existed all along. Educators and researchers repeatedly communicated their observations Continued on next page.

October/November 2018

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and experiences and shared solid data, and now those efforts seem to be making a difference. That issue directly connects to the third issue: testing. So why does it seem that the foundational, underlying factors of academic success or distress finally have been accepted? It’s because parents got involved in pushback against high-stakes testing and the negative effects on their children and their teachers. Non-educator legislators and education policy groups inappropriately used high-stakes testing to make broad assumptions about students, educators and schools. Educators’ opinions were considered “unreliable” because they were just making excuses for their own failures. Once parents — as advocates for their children — began rejecting testing because they saw how it negatively affected their children AND how it narrowed curriculum

Succeeds Act with as much flexibility as it could manage and fought back against the governor’s late effort to rely more on high-stakes testing. The statewide candidates all have expressed a desire in a variety of ways to lessen required high-stakes testing and provide educators more flexibility to make decisions in the classroom. PAGE has engaged educational leaders statewide on an initiative for true accountability that seeks to help educators, schools and districts answer the question “For what am I accountable and to whom?” We believe that answer must involve the community, students, parents and educators, and that the solution is not a test-based accountability system and A-F grading of schools and districts. We’ll share more about this effort soon and its potential implications for Georgia educan tors and educational policy.

Once parents — as advocates for their children — began rejecting testing because they saw how it negatively affected their children AND how it narrowed curriculum and opportunities for teachers to teach as effectively as they can, opinions began to turn.

and opportunities for teachers to teach as effectively as they can, opinions began to turn. In the past two years, we’ve seen the General Assembly adjust the evaluation system to lessen the influence of test results and initiate an alternative assessment pilot. The Georgia Department of Education rewrote its accountability system for the federal Every Student

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ELECTION 2018 Candidate Positions on Education

O

n Nov. 6, Georgians will choose a governor and state school superintendent, both of whom will largely set the direction of education in Georgia. In this issue of PAGE One, the candidates for both key positions provide their views on school funding, private school vouchers, school safety, testing, teacher compensation and wraparound services for rural and/or impoverished children. Historically, Georgia educators have played a big role in political outcomes in our state — and you will again this year. To equip you with the essential knowledge needed to cast informed votes, PAGE submitted questions to each of the four candidates. Their answers follow. PAGE also hosted a candidate forum last month at

October/November 2018

Georgia Public Broadcasting. State school superintendent candidates — Richard Woods, the incumbent, and challenger Otha Thornton — both participated in a lively discussion moderated by GPB’s Bill Nigut. Both gubernatorial candidates — Brian Kemp and Stacey Abrams — declined to participate, so PAGE leadership chose to kick off the forum with a summary of Abrams’ and Kemp’s stances on education based on their answers to our questions. We encourage you to read the following pages and be sure to vote. In counties throughout Georgia, you can vote early now through late October. Just search “early voting Georgia” for a list of locations. If you miss early voting, head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6. In many ways, Georgia’s future depends on you.

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Governor’s Race: Candidate Positions on Education

Stacey Abrams What is your top priority for Georgia public schools? My top priority for Georgia public schools is full funding and access. Georgia serves more than 1.7 million students in our K-12 public schools. We must value investing in our public schools rather than defunding and diminishing their ability to give our students the best outcomes. Georgia schools endured 16 straight years of austerity cuts, combined with cost-shifting to local districts and educators. While the austerity cuts will end in 2018-19, we must now move towards increasing our investment in education, as it is the bedrock of our economic future. I commit to fully funding our public schools, identifying additional resources and rolling back measures that siphon funds from public school dollars. We must also invest in our special needs students, including the ability to wholly access federal funding available for their supports. What school security and safety enhancements should be made in Georgia schools? How would you fund these? Securing public schools requires a holistic approach that examines both external and internal threats. I am the only gubernatori-

al candidate who has consistently opposed laws to weaken gun safety in our state. I have released my gun safety priorities to keep guns out of the wrong hands. The safety of the learning environment must be our highest priority, as the ability to learn and to educate are wholly impacted by the security of our schools. I will support Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) initiatives, the Georgia Education Climate Coalition, mental health funding, school counselors, social workers, and school psychologists. Georgia schools using PBIS approaches and trainings have seen striking benefits; we must implement these statewide. We must continue to support our school resource officers. As governor, I will examine funding mechanisms for making resource officers and training available across the state. Safety and security must be a critical component of our

Brian Kemp I will be a governor who supports our public schools and works to enhance educational outcomes through early childhood learning and literacy initiatives. What school security and safety enhancements should be made in Georgia schools? How would you fund these?

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Georgia’s education leaders increasingly recognize the importance of student social-emotional health, and they struggle to address impacts of student poverty. How would you enhance and fund student wraparound services? Every child deserves an excellent, comprehensive education, regardless of their beginning. To ensure achievement and preparedness, our obligation is to expand and deepen the wraparound supports that facilitate learning for children, including for their students and their communities. State government should provide funding, consistent with what Gov. Deal included in this year’s budget, but local systems should ultimately make decisions on the best ways to secure their schools.

What is your top priority for Georgia public schools?

School safety is a topic that is on the forefront of every parent’s mind when they send their kids to school every morning — and it is certainly a thought that Marty and I have as parents of three teenage daughters. Safety of students, teachers, and faculty should be our highest priority as we look for innovative and cost-effective ways to secure our schools. I am encouraged by the

capital projects. Some schools have relied on ESPLOST funds to improve security, and we must explore allowing funds to be used for operations as well. I will also create a School Safety and Security Capital Task Force to ensure that resources for safety and security are directed where local sources are unable to meet those needs. Finally, we must break the school-toprison pipeline. In some areas, our state has gone too far in criminalizing behavior — student discipline issues must be addressed, but with mindfulness to students’ ability to hold hope for future success. I will focus on providing early interventions, intensive supports when needed, and a path back to school. We must effectively dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline once and for all.

work the legislature is currently undertaking — through both the House and Senate Study Committees on School Security — and look forward to reviewing their recommendations upon completion of their proceedings in December. As for the role of state government, I am a firm believer in local control and trust that local superintendents and boards of education know what’s best

Georgia’s education leaders increasingly recognize the importance of student social-emotional health, and they struggle to address impacts of student poverty. How would you enhance and fund student wraparound services? I recognize the need for wraparound centers that connect students and families with community resources. I am encouraged that GaDOE recently approved funding for a regional wraparound coordinator in each of Georgia’s Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) and look forward to working with the state school superintendent and October/November 2018


access to public benefits, mental health supports, ESL assistance for children and parents, and health services. By engaging the whole life of the child through school and community resources, we can make our schools stronger and our communities more vibrant. Promising programs and initiatives like Marietta Student Life Center abound in Georgia and we must ensure those opportunities are spread across the state. Georgia, has a number of pilot projects right now, and as governor, I will ensure that we implement the projects that work and make progress. To fund wraparound services, we should adopt a more comprehensive education formula that directly addresses the correlation between poverty, student social-emotional health, and educational outcomes. Additionally, we must leverage our state dollars to take full advantage of federal dollars for mental health and early intervention supports. How would you work with local communities to attract and retain teachers to highpoverty rural and urban school districts? We know that high-poverty districts experience high turnover at disproportionate levels for first-year teachers, which creates equity gaps across our system. Resources and stability are often out of reach for local leaders to support this effort and expand as deemed necessary. How would you work with local communities to attract and retain teachers to highpoverty rural and urban school districts? As governor, I will work with PAGE on programs to recruit high-quality teachers to underserved areas and create strategies around housing and transportation needs in undeveloped areas. What changes would you make with regard to educator compensation? Educators should be fairly compensated for their service. As governor, I will partner with PAGE to create proposals that address compensation and retirement challenges in Georgia. For example, I want to raise salaries to improve recruitment. Additionally, I will improve retention by creating additional October/November 2018

the schools that need them the most. I am committed to competitive pay for all educators and recognize that additional incentives may be necessary to attract and retain teachers in high-poverty rural and urban school districts. I would support local districts as they incentivize attraction and retention of experienced teachers who choose to work in high-poverty schools. In rural areas in particular, schools are some of our largest employers. We can contribute to stable economies by offering competitive, family-supporting salaries. Our rural schools face challenges, including struggling tax bases, teacher recruitment, access to expansive AP courses, and transportation costs, among others. I commit to partnering with rural communities and educators to meet these challenges. In addition, I will work to ensure that our rural areas have access to important resources and infrastructure, like broadband high-speed internet, that other areas in our state take for granted. To attract and retain teachers to specific school districts in our state, we must work to offer their families the same opportunities and quality of life they would have in any other district. What changes would you make with regard to educator compensation? Salary sends a signal, demonstrating how steps in the salary schedule for teachers with more than 21 years experience. Finally, I know that teachers are tired of the fads, new directives, and unfunded mandates. I want local systems to respect teachers’ time by reducing paperwork, unpaid duties, and micromanagement so that teachers can actually teach. What is your position on potential Teachers Retirement System (TRS) changes, such as: a. Converting the plan from a defined benefit to a defined contribution? b. Is hybridizing TRS appropriate for new Georgia teachers? A healthy retirement plan is vital to recruiting and retaining quality teachers. I stand by the state’s commitment to TRS and applaud Gov. Deal and the General Assembly for shoring up the program when it became necessary. I am open to suggestions on how to keep the TRS solvent.

we value educators among our workforce. We must prioritize competitive pay for educators to demonstrate the value of this most critical profession and to strengthen our ability to attract and retain quality educators. I will prioritize educators in the budget process and bring teacher pay up to the national average. Additional compensation priorities will be to restore the National Board Certification bonuses and to explore models that recognize the contributions of mentor teachers. What is your position on potential Teachers Retirement System (TRS) changes, such as: a. Converting the plan from a defined benefit to a defined contribution? b. Is hybridizing TRS appropriate for new Georgia teachers? Retirement benefits in the form of defined-benefit plans are the promise made to educators who have chosen to serve our children and our state. It is essential that we honor that commitment. For the 2019 budget, I would explore the inclusion of a COLA for the state’s contribution to the Teachers Retirement System. I will oppose changes in the benefit model to a defined contribution or a hybrid model, and I do not support changes in Continued on page 10

What role does assessment and standardized testing play in educator and student accountability? I want testing to provide teachers and parents with diagnostic data that actually identifies issues and allows teachers to teach-not administer a laundry list of high — stakes tests. As governor, I will reduce the number and impact of standardized tests by adopting the federal testing minimum allowed by ESSA. What should the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement’s role be with regard to Georgia’s education system? I want GOSA to measure academic achievement, but also help in our efforts to enhance educational outcomes. For example, I will house the newly created Statewide Coordinator for Literacy in the Continued on page 10 PAGE ONE  9


Governor’s Race: Candidate Positions on Education Abrams the composition of the Retirement Board.

Georgia’s state school superintendent?

What role does assessment and standardized testing play in educator and student accountability?

Georgia’s governor must work in cooperation with the school superintendent, who can be instrumental in developing long-term policies that improve education across the state. I will ensure direct lines of communication between all levels of the Superintendent’s office and the Governor’s office, and I will also ensure that any planned enhancements of our K-12 public school system are administered with deep consultation and collaboration with the superintendent.

Regarding high-stakes testing, I supported SB 364 to reduce testing and will continue to support reasonable minimization of highstakes testing as governor. I will support efforts identified under Georgia’s ESSA plan to examine testing, develop greater flexibility on assessments, and partner with educators in making these changes. Further, I will support innovative assessments in teacher evaluations so that high-stakes testing is not used to penalize teachers and schools. What should the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement’s role be with regard to Georgia’s education system? The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) can help improve and ensure the quality of Georgia’s education system. As programs and policies are implemented to help provide our students and teachers the resources they need to thrive in our public schools, GOSA can help determine the initiatives that are working effectively and deserve greater investment. Regardless of GOSA’s specific role going forward to enhance Georgia’s school system, the governor’s office, school superintendent, and local school districts must work together collaboratively to guarantee an excellent education to every student in every region of our state. How would you work effectively with

Do you support private-school vouchers and Georgia’s tuition tax-credit program, which diverts $100 million annually to a voucher program? Would you support designating a portion of the $100 million for low-income family participation, exclusively? Under my leadership, we will not privatize our public schools or encourage private for-profit management of our schools. Profit should not guide the education of our children. I am the only candidate who strongly opposes diverting public dollars to private schools. Our constitutional responsibility as a state is to educate students through our public K-12 system. Shifting tax dollars to private schools through the tax system diminishes our ability to meet this fundamental responsibility. I opposed private school tax credits as a Georgia legislator, and I am the only candidate who has publicly stated she would eliminate such credits as governor. I will veto any leg-

islation that expands private school tax credits. If we have tax credits for education, those credits should focus on public schools. I voted YES to HB 237 in 2017 to establish the Public Education Innovation Fund Foundation, which offers tax credits for donations targeted to public schools. Similar to private school tax credits, I fought vouchers as a state legislator and will continue to fight vouchers as governor. Multiple attempts at altering Georgia’s school funding mechanism, the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Funding Formula, have fizzled since its inception in 1985. Are you considering any changes to QBE? Quality schools depend on attracting and retaining quality educators — ones who are paid competitively with other professions. However, research clearly shows even the most proficient educator cannot solve for the broader complications of poverty in our schools. Therefore, in addition to fully funding QBE, we must adopt a more comprehensive education funding formula that directly addresses the correlation between poverty and educational outcomes; supports educators as they seek to best serve our students; and invests in access to the technology that is an essential part of learning in the 21st century, but remains out of reach for too many of our kids. Some districts are able to supplement funding from external sources, but many communities do not have access to these resources. We must fully recognize our state commitment to funding public schools so that zip codes do not detern mine educational outcomes.

Kemp governor’s office, which will drive progress and coordinate the battle against adult and childhood illiteracy. How would you work effectively with Georgia’s state school superintendent? I look forward to working with the state superintendent and am confident that there will be an effective partnership between the sovernor, state superintendent, and State Board of Education. Do you support private-school vouchers and Georgia’s tuition tax-credit 10  PAGE ONE

program, which diverts $100 million annually to a voucher program? Would you support designating a portion of the $100 million for low-income family participation, exclusively? Yes. I am a proponent of school choice and allowing parents — not the government — to make the best educational decisions for their child — whatever option that may be. Data shows that our SSO programs are helping students from all parts of our state and from all walks of life. I will continue to support this program as governor.

On accountability, I firmly believe that every state dollar spent should be accountable and have a return on investment for hardworking Georgia taxpayers. Recently, accountability measures were strengthened through the legislative process for the SSO programs — and the State Commission on Charter Schools works diligently to ensure those programs meet or exceed requirements outlined in state law. If elected governor, I plan to hold every program, personnel, and service to the highest standards of accountability.

October/November 2018


GOVERNOR’S RACE

Candidate Positions at a Glance Brian Kemp

Stacey Abrams

School Vouchers

Supports doubling the tuition tax credit and will promote education savings accounts starting with a pilot for military families

Opposes vouchers

Education Funding

Supports updating the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula

Wants continued full funding of the Quality Basic Education formula and adoption of a more comprehensive funding formula

Teachers Retirement System

Supports the current Teachers Retirement System while being open to suggestions on how to keep the system solvent

Will oppose changes in the benefit model to a defined contribution or a hybrid model and opposes changes in the composition of the TRS board

Educator Salaries

Proposes a $5,000 raise for every teacher. These raises would be added to the state salary schedule

Will prioritize educators in the budget process and bring teacher pay up to the national average. Plans to restore National Board Certification bonuses and will examine models for compensating mentor teachers

Standardized Testing

Supports reducing the number and impact of standardized tests by adopting the federal testing minimum allowed by ESSA

Supports less high-stakes testing; supported SB 364 to reduce testing in 2016

Rural Georgia

Supports growing virtual learning opportunities for rural students; will partner with non-profit organizations to fund after-school programs that teach soft skills; supports creation of programs to recruit high-quality teachers to underserved areas

Supports competitive pay for all educators and recognizes that additional incentives may be necessary to attract and retain teachers in highpoverty rural districts

School Safety

Supports empowering educators, superintendents, school board members, parents, and the local community to address the unique safety needs of schools in their communities with the help of state funding; supports arming teachers if the local community and local policymakers are supportive

Supports gun safety policies; supports a focus on school climate and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports; encourages creation of supports for mental health professionals and school resource officers; supports improving building security by changing ESPLOST policy

Multiple attempts at altering Georgia’s school funding mechanism, the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Funding Formula, have fizzled since its inception in 1985. Are you considering any changes to QBE? October/November 2018

The QBE funding formula needs to be updated to strengthen local schools and put students first. QBE is antiquated and does not allow flexibility for local school

systems to make decisions that are best for their faculty and student population. I am committed to seeking recommendations on updating the formula for the betterment of all systems in Georgia. n PAGE ONE  11


State School Superintendent’s Race: Candidate Positions on Education

Richards Woods If elected, how would you seek to improve student outcomes and public education in Georgia? With increased outcomes — rising graduation rates, ACT, SAT, AP, and reading scores — coupled with expanded opportunities for students — arts, STEM, STEAM, career technical education, agriculture, and computer science — Georgia is on the move and heading in the right direction. These outcomes are a testament to the hard work of our teachers and students. Since taking office, I have worked to transform us into a truly service- and support-centered agency, fostering collaboration, pursuing alignment, and ensuring cohesiveness. We believe our schools and students can succeed. Our focus has been to remove barriers to success, foster collab-

oration, target resources more effectively, restore and grow partnerships, and lead by meeting the needs of those we serve. We’ve focused on the fundamentals in the early grades by building out strong instruction supports and scaling best practices instead of over-emphasizing accountability. For example, we were awarded over $61 million to support literacy, partnered with Get Georgia Reading

and the Georgia Public Library Service, and put over 300,000 books directly into the hands of our kids and built out developmentally appropriate and formative literacy and numeracy tools for teachers. In the later grades, we are positioning pathways around the passions and interests of our students; this has led to thousands of students completing career pathways and participating in dual enrollment or earning credit through AP. Instead of over-emphasizing English language arts and math to the detriment of other disciplines, I have ensured that support, professional learning, and opportunity have expanded across all areas, including social studies, science, fine arts, world language, career tech, computer science, and physical education. A renaissance of opportunity is taking place in our schools

Otha Thornton If elected, how would you seek to improve student outcomes and public education in Georgia?

ates from a Georgia high school has an education that gives him or her viable life options and a promising future.

For Georgia to have a world-class K-12 school system and improve outcomes, we need to focus our overall system on encouraging and producing character, critical thinking skills, creativity, and compassion in our students’ educational experience. We need to prepare our children to compete in a national and global economy. We need to reinvigorate arts, science, and vocational training in our schools. And finally, we need to ensure that our school districts are properly funded and resourced to provide a great education for every child whether they are in rural, urban, or suburban Georgia. My vision has three major cornerstones: wraparound services, school safety, and funding. I will pursue these areas by collaboratively working with all stakeholders in getting our Quality [Basic] Education (QBE) funding formula updated so we can provide necessary wraparound services in our schools. These services will be critical in identifying social, mental, and medical needs that will set up our children and school districts for success and mitigate some of our discipline and safety challenges. Second, I will focus on providing leader-

How will you work with the State Board of Education and Georgia’s chief turnaround officer to assist students in struggling schools?

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ship, guidance, and resources in addressing school safety. I will work closely with our superintendents and stakeholders in finding tailored resources. Finally, I will address and advocate for right funding, not adequate funding. I will ensure that Title 1 funds are being used correctly by our state, and collaborate with businesses in Georgia and those businesses seeking a home in Georgia to invest into our public schools. I served as a key leader/liaison with the Anne Arundel School District and Fort Meade over a decade ago on a “Creating High Performing High Schools” Task Force Committee. The vision of the school leaders, community, and this committee created one of the top school districts in America. After over a decade of operation and sustainment, today it is a great workforce development and academic model to emulate. The end state of my vision is that every child who gradu-

By Georgia law (House Bill 338), I am required to work directly with the board and chief turnaround officer (CTO). One of my first goals is to advocate for the repeal or amendment of this bill. The Department of Education (DOE) has a division that is responsible for working in school turnaround, so the CTO position is a duplication of effort that was created because of the governor’s and assembly’s lack of confidence in the DOE. By repealing or amending this law, we can save taxpayers’ dollars and eliminate confusion in attempting to improve schools. With the current law, I would work directly with the CTO to ensure that the established continuous improvement model that is used by the DOE is also used in the Tier 4 (takeover schools) category. The DOE is working on a continuous improvement model from Tier 1-4 and the chief turnaround officer has a different model at the Tier 4 level. This disconnect causes confusion. Currently, there is no October/November 2018


with options coming back that were scaled back or eliminated altogether during the No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top years. We have over 1,000 schools that are in the STEM pipeline, and students who complete career pathways achieve a 96-percent graduation rate. Our state is ranked 15th in the nation for AP, while we have worked to create STEAM and economic development partnership designations for our districts and schools. Furthering opportunities, we have established diploma seals in the areas of fine arts, international skills, employability skills, leadership skills, and career readiness for our high-school students. If afforded a second term, I will continue to fight for a more balanced education system that meets the needs of the whole child by strengthening support across

disciplines, protecting education funding, working with the General Assembly to adopt a 21st-century education formula, raising teacher pay, increasing student outcomes, and expanding opportunities. Throughout my tenure, I have worked with students, parents, educators, community members, and education groups — like PAGE — to lay out a positive vision for education in our state. A vision molded by Georgians, not rooted in the requirements of No Child Left Behind or Race to the Top. We are charting our own course in education and yielding results because of the level of engagement, collaboration, and buy-in from all Georgians and all of Georgia.

clear delineation of roles and duplication of effort between the DOE and CTO.

begin advocating for them with all government and corporate stakeholders. The state government’s role is to set the conditions and to provide resources and leadership to all of its school districts. One size does not fit all in every school district and their communities. My role would be to seek all state and federal resources available to assist each district according to their needs.

What changes, if any, should be made to Georgia’s school accountability and assessment programs? I would work to change the timeline that the schools and districts are receiving the Milestones data. Currently, the data are being received in October, which does not provide an opportunity to use the data to plan school improvement initiatives at the beginning of the school year. Data received at the middle of the year does not allow for the staff at the Georgia Department of Education to work with schools until the middle of the school year, which is not practical and efficient in the improvement cycle. Also, schools cannot receive funds until they have been identified, and receiving funds in the middle of the year does not allow schools to fund school improvement efforts at the beginning of the school year when the initial planning takes place. How would you work with local schools to enhance school safety and security? I would start by requesting a needs assessment from each superintendent and their school boards, prioritize the needs, and October/November 2018

How will you work with the State Board of Education and Georgia’s chief turn-

What is the state school superintendent’s role in improving teacher recruitment and retention? How would you strengthen Georgia’s teacher pipeline? First, I would model and give the due respect to educators in Georgia that I have witnessed and experienced from living and working around the nation and the world. I would work towards improving teacher recruitment and retention by working with our legislators and governor in getting legislation passed to offer statewide incentives and programs, such as student loan forgiveness, home ownership, housing subsidies, and better compensation packages. I would work with our universities in encouraging and recruiting teacher workforce. On the student loan forgiveness program, I would advocate for a five-year program to be paid back 20 percent per year, coupled with a requirement that the

around officer to assist students in struggling schools? Immediately after I took office in 2014, I set a new vision for improving our schools based on my own on-the-ground experience and the lessons learned from the Georgia Department of Education’s school improvement team. Since then, we have transformed how the GaDOE supported our struggling schools. In the past, serving these schools was the sole responsibility of just one division — our school improvement team. Now, we are leveraging resources, experience, and expertise across our entire agency to meet the needs of our schools. In the past, the GaDOE only provided service and support to schools once they Continued on page 14

teachers in this program would have an assigned mentor teacher. For two years, I took part as a judge in the National Teacher of the Year Program, and I had many conversations about the importance of the 3-5 year period in a teacher’s career. In Georgia, we are losing 44 percent of our teachers within the first five years. The home ownership program would provide incentives for teachers to purchase homes with no down payments, which could be financed at the local banks in the community. This would encourage them to establish roots and live in the community where they work. I would establish stakeholder advisory groups to stay in touch with the needs and issues related to these groups. It is important to establish advisory groups with superintendents, teachers, parents, students, and the business community. I believe that the business of education is everybody’s business and everybody should have a role in supporting the educational well-being of every student in Georgia. To strengthen the pipeline, I would actively engage our colleges and universities here by sharing relevant information on K-12 matters to assist new teachers and helping them understand the needs of communities that they will be living n and working in across Georgia.  PAGE ONE  13


State School Superintendent’s Race: Candidate Positions on Education Woods ended up on a list. Now, we have a proactive approach that provides supports as needed with the motto: All Districts, All Schools, All Students — All Hands on Deck! We’ve developed a tiered system of supports with universal supports provided to all schools and more tiered and tailored support for those that are most in need. Our vision rests on the belief of continuous improvement — that all schools can improve and our agency has a shared responsibility to make that happen. To lead these efforts, I hired a Georgia leader who was named Georgia Principal of the Year, a finalist for National Principal of the Year, and a professional who already has successfully turned around three schools to bring a very practical and real world approach to school improvement work. I have spearheaded efforts to provide flexiblity to districts in order to leverage federal funds more effectively; this will allow them to spend funds addressing non-academic needs, such as funding counselors, mental health services, social workers, and parent and community engagement coordinators. I have worked to provide over $1 million to fund wraparound coordinator positions across the state to work with schools to establish student success (wraparound) centers. I have also secured millions to expand mental health services and school climate support. Beyond coordinating with sister education agencies, I have worked with other state agencies to leverage their resources to support our communities. Working with Department of Community Health, we will be doubling our funding for school nurses statewide and we are working with the Georgia Public Library System to provide library cards to every child in Georgia. I have set a clear vision for our agency, and we are transforming from compliance to supporting improvement — the result is that districts are seeing a real change in the level of support and service coming from the GaDOE. We are partnering with other groups such as RESAs, like never before and building strong relationships. The turnaround effort is just a small piece of a larger, more comprehensive approach to support all schools. I am committed to collaboration with the chief turnaround officer (CTO) and State Board of Education, but I am equally committed to ensuring that their topdown approach isn’t the only approach — our kids deserve no less. 14  PAGE ONE

Though I have directed my staff to be responsive and respectful to the CTO, I will continue to be transparent in my concerns with the turnaround effort: schools should know how they are being selected for turnaround and how they exit turnaround; turnaround should be a true partnership, not a forced arrangement dictated by the CTO; first priority cannot become our only priority — we can’t divert resources and personnel away from serving all of Georgia’s public schools. If afforded a second term, I will continue my focus on lifting up all of our schools, providing the quality, level of support, and vision to ensure the turnaround effort is no longer needed in Georgia. What changes, if any, should be made to Georgia’s school accountability and assessment programs? I have been consistent in my commitment to ensuring Georgia’s accountability system is fair and paints a true picture of the performance of our schools. Under my direction, the Department of Education commissioned a UGA study proving our accountability model wasn’t fair to schools or students and showing that not one of the top NAEP performing states use a letter grade system. I oppose the 100-point scale; it places a ceiling on success for our schools and students. The A-F letter grading system adopted by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement is a glaring example of government overreach and a continuation of the blame and shame approach we’ve seen from so many failed education reforms. When the governor pushed for revisions to the proposed accountability (CCRPI) model under Georgia’s state ESSA plan, I recognized and respected the input of education stakeholders (including PAGE), holding the line to ensure our model did not become based solely on test scores and Georgia did not go back to the days of AYP. If afforded a second term, I commit to further reducing the weight of highstakes testing in our accountability model and instead will focus on increasing the weight of opportunity indicators (i.e. AP, IB, fine arts, career pathways, dual enrollment, etc.), graduation rate, and student progress. I will push for the repeal of the 100-point scale requirement in state law and will continue to call on GOSA to

discontinue the use of letter grades while looking to scale back the duplicative scope of the agency in state law. In the area of assessment, I have led the charge for the largest decrease in high-stakes testing in Georgia’s history. Working with education groups like PAGE, we’ve seen the state requirement for SLOs eliminated and the elimination of eight Milestones assessments. I have continued to seek out ways to reduce high-stakes testing in State Board rule, recommending and getting the approval to eliminate doubletesting for high school and middle school students who take advance coursework or participate in dual enrollment. This past session, I worked with the General Assembly to pass legislation to establish an Innovative Assessment Pilot, which will provide us a path to create assessments that are less intrusive, provide more immediate feedback, and are rooted in instruction, rather than accountability. In my second term, I commit to pursuing the further reduction of the number of high-stakes tests to bring us in line with the federal minimum, supporting district innovation and flexiblity in the area of testing, developing and delivering diagnostic tools for educators, and creating an assessment system that truly informs teaching and learning. From crafting our state’s ESSA plan to promoting legislation to reduce testing, I’ve demonstrated a strong commitment to bringing stakeholders to the table so that their concerns inform the development of real solutions. How would you work with local schools to enhance school safety and security? Each day, communities entrust us with the safety of nearly 1.8 million students and hundreds of thousands of staff members. School safety is our major responsibility. I worked closely with the General Assembly to address this issue. The legislature approved millions of dollars in school safety grants to provide facility upgrades, train school personnel, and enhance mental health services. I supported legislation to expand mandatory safety drills to include active shooter and intruder drills. I also supported the creation of a School Safety Study Committee in order to establish a comprehensive approach to safety and security for our schools. October/November 2018


STATE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT RACE Candidate Positions at a Glance Otha Thornton

Richard Woods

Standardized Testing and Accountability

Supports changing the Milestones timeline, enabling schools to more effectively use test data

Supports reducing the weight of high-stakes testing in CCRPI. Will increase the weight of opportunity indicators (i.e. AP, IB, fine arts, career pathways, dual enrollment, etc.), graduation rate, and student progress; will seek to repeal the A-F letter grade system implemented by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement; supports decreasing the number of high-stakes tests to federal minimum

Chief Turnaround Office (CTO)

Opposes the top-down model of the CTO and will work to repeal HB 338

Will collaborate with the CTO and State Board of Education to help turn around schools; equally committed to ensuring that top-down approach isn’t the only approach

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Supports incentives such as student loan forgiveness, home ownership, housing subsidies, and better compensation packages

Supports increasing the base starting salary for Georgia teachers and expanding the salary scale steps past 21 years; supports the current teacher retirement system; supports multiple options and competitive pricing for healthcare

School Safety

Will provide leadership, guidance, and resources in addressing school safety; will work closely with local superintendents and stakeholders in finding tailored resources

Supported legislation to expand mandatory safety drills to include active shooter and intruder drills; supported the creation of a School Safety Study Committee; supports improving school climate by supporting Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Under my direction, the GaDOE is ensuring that emergency management and law enforcement agencies are working closely with their local school districts. We have partnered with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) to conduct a thorough review of the safety plans of every school in our state. GaDOE has made school safety a key component of its facilities review and approval process at the state level. Highquality training is being developed and implemented for districts, leaders, educators, and support staff. GaDOE is working with districts to improve the climate of their schools and October/November 2018

to ensure that students feel empowered to communicate concerns and threats to school officials. Each district and each school is unique — a one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer. I am committed to raising awareness about this issue, providing a wide-range of solutions and options that ensures a comprehensive approach to this issue. We must empower and equip local communities, school boards, and leaders to assess and develop plans — with our role being to provide them resources and support to execute those plans effectively. School safety and security must continue to be key components of our efforts

to support schools and provide a safe learning environment for our kids. What is the state school superintendent’s role in improving teacher recruitment and retention? How would you strengthen Georgia’s teacher pipeline? I am the only candidate running for this office who has any K-12 classroom or leadership experience. My opponent lacks the firsthand experience of working in crowded classrooms, seeing the negative impacts of high-stakes testing, or teaching in a Title I school — I have that experience. Continued on page 17 PAGE ONE  15


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State School Superintendent’s Race: Candidate Positions on Education Woods I have over 25 years of Pre-K through 12th-grade experience in education, serving as a veteran teacher, school leader, and Georgia’s current state school superintendent. Throughout my educational career, I have never forgotten what it’s like to be a classroom teacher. I carry that commitment and experience with me every day as Georgia’s school superintendent. I make every decision through the lens of an educator. Higher education, the Professional Standards Commission, teacher groups, districts, and others play a key role in the teacher pipeline. When I took office, I sent a survey to Georgia’s educators asking them to rank the top reasons people were [leaving] the profession. Over 55,000 teachers responded, and those results formed the basis to the reduction of high-stakes tests, fewer observations for veteran or effective teachers, and reforms to the teacher evaluation system. We must

continue to evaluate policy changes that unfairly pressure and punish our teachers. Compensation must be a key component of our strategy to attract and retain our teachers. Teachers stayed committed to our state and to our students during the Great Recession — enduring furloughs, pay freezes, or even cuts. We owe it to our teachers to give them true pay raises (not simply increase pay to have it eroded by higher retirement or healthcare contributions). We should increase the base starting salary for Georgia teachers and expand the salary scale steps past 21 years. These changes would help recruit new teachers on the front end, while retaining our veteran teachers whose commitment to serving in our classrooms has been unwavering. Beyond pay, benefits are a key part of the recruitment of Georgia’s teacher workforce — and a key part of retaining them once they join our ranks. As the

spouse of a TRS retiree who dedicated 30 years to educating our children and as a 25-year educator myself, I understand the importance of keeping our promise to our teachers. I will continue to be a strong advocate in this area, as well as continue to advocate for multiple options and competitive pricing for our healthcare. Recruiting and retaining teachers for Georgia isn’t about glossy ads or billboards. Every teacher — including myself — was inspired by a teacher who impacted his or her life in a positive way. The best recruitment tool is to have teachers telling their students with teaching aptitude to pursue a career in the teaching profession. We’ve taken major steps to get there, but our state must step up in a bold way to see that commitment through. I am committed to leading that charge for our teachers and offering clear solutions n to pave the path forward.

A Primer on Georgia Tuition Tax Credits and Vouchers

Revised Private School Voucher Program Diverts $100 Million a Year from State Budget By Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Services

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eorgia’s tuition tax credit program gives private citizens and corporations tax credits for donations to Student Scholarship Organization, which then provides private school vouchers to Georgia students. This year, the General Assembly raised the cap on the tax credit program from $58 million to $100 million. It will redirect $100 million annually away from Georgia’s general fund to the voucher program until 2028, when the cap will be reduced to $58 million. Because 40 per-

cent of the state budget is spent on K-12 education, the tuition tax credit program impacts funds available for public education and other essential state services. The state’s second voucher program — called the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program and established in 2007 — enables special-needs students to attend private schools deemed eligible by the Georgia Department of Education. Last school year, 4,553 students participated in the special-needs voucher program, reports the Governor’s Office

of Student Achievement. Of these students, 30 percent indicated a specific learning disability and 28 percent indicated a disability type of “other health impairment.” The voucher amount is determined by the special education services that the student received in his/her public school. Voucher amounts typically range from $2,500 to $13,500, and the average amount paid is $5,700. Private schools that accept these students are not required to provide them with special n education services. 

VOLUNTEERS WANTED FOR PAGE STUDENT PROGRAMS

PAGE sponsors competitions for Georgia’s students, but those competitions can’t happen without volunteers. The PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades has opportunities for Readers and Timers on Dec. 8 and Jan. 26. The PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon, to be held Feb. 22-23, needs Speech and Interview Judges, as well as Super Quiz and Testing Proctors. Please visit the Student Programs section of www.pageinc.org to learn more and to volunteer.

October/November 2018

PAGE ONE  17


State School Superintendent’s Race: Candidate Positions on Education

State School Superintendent Candidates:

Richard Woods Advocates for Adding Salary Steps; Otha Thornton Backs Student Loan Forgiveness

By Meg Thornton, PAGE One Editor

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he two candidates for state school superintendent, incumbent Richard Woods (R) and Otha Thornton (D), hold similar viewpoints on several key education issues. They both oppose diverting public education funds to private schools, they both support increased funding for education overall and for wraparound services for students in need and they both think that the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement is an unnecessary and redundant state entity. However Thornton

Photos by Meg Thornton

and Woods, who faced off in early September in a PAGE-sponsored televised forum at Georgia Public Broadcasting, differ somewhat in how they would advance their goals.

“I am totally opposed to using any public tax dollars for “[these] schools. … [They] do not have the same accountability to the taxpayer.” — Otha Thornton 18  PAGE ONE

Woods wants to financially reward long-time teachers. “Our teachers desperately need raises; they’re capped at 21 years. I’d love to see some additional steps added to the (salary schedule) — two or three steps,” he said. Thornton prioritized student loan forgiveness to retain new teachers. He also said that the state was disingenuous in 2014 when it awarded 3-percent pay raises to teachers while piling financial burdens on local districts. “They’re losing tax base in rural Georgia and the state is pushing down more requirements,” he said. After October/November 2018


“Our first priority should be fully funding and accurately funding the [public education] system. I oppose anything as far as diverting money to [private schools].” — Richard Woods

lawmakers provided the 3 percent raise, “they went back to school districts and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to have to pick up the insurance for your support staff and workers,’” he added. Woods stressed that the state is long overdue in adjusting its Quality Basic Education funding formula. “It’s a 1985 formula. … Education is completely different.” On the topic of tax credits or vouchers for families of students who attend private schools, both candidates gave a firm “no.” “I am totally opposed to using any public tax dollars for [these] schools,” said Thornton. “[They} do not have the same accountability to the taxpayer. They can discriminate … racial discrimination, discrimination against children October/November 2018

with disabilities, and that’s just totally unacceptable.” Woods said that he stands for public education and is not in favor of increasing the $100 million tax credit that Georgia now provides to families of private school students. “Our first priority should be fully funding and accurately funding the [public education] system. I oppose anything as far as diverting money to [private schools].” He cautioned private schools to be mindful that “government money tends to come with government strings. I respect the autonomy of our private schools, and to make sure they keep that [autonomy], I would not take that [funding].” Both candidates see a strong need for more robust mental and physical health services and other wraparound services for Georgia students. To that end, Woods said his office now has more federal flexibility with title funds. “Instead of having it pigeonholed, we now are trying to give our local districts flexibility in how to spend that money.” The state also aims to provide $1 million to support wraparound services and another $1 million to support school climate, he added. Woods also thinks that telemedicine has tremendous potential to help service underserved communities. Thornton said that he would like to emulate a model program he worked with in Maryland. It targeted federal and state money to meet the nutritional, medical, social and psychological needs of students. “It really made a difference,” he said, citing the district’s 95-percent graduation rate. Testing is another area of relative

agreement. Instead of emphasizing high-stakes testing, Thornton advocated focusing on “building character, critical thinking skills and creativity. I think we can provide curriculum at the state level (focusing on these areas), although it’s a local decision,” he added. Woods, who helped champion reductions in testing in Georgia schools, hopes to see “mandated testing brought to the federal minimum.” He said, “We’re also looking at how we test,” citing a pilot program using formative assessments. “By doing so, we allow teachers to really dig in and get to know their kids, build a relationship with them, which is extremely important. [And] they can take that information and address each child instead of putting them all in the same box.” The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement was decried by both candidates as wasteful. “It is a very duplicative service,” said Woods. “It has grown from perhaps a budget of under $1 million to close to $14 million. I’m a small-government individual. I firmly believe that … there is not a need for GOSA.” Thornton said that GOSA crosses constitutional lines: “The governor has a constitutional role and the state school superintendent has a constitutional role, and over the years … the Republican party has taken that power away from the state school superintendent.” The candidates had somewhat differing views on arming teachers. “I am totally against it,” said Thornton, adding that it’s a local decision. “I’m a soldier of 21 years. We want teachers to feel safe and want them to focus on teaching.” Wood countered with, “I support local control. Those individuals know their community better, so I leave that to them. But I say that with a caveat that we do not mandate that any teacher carry a n firearm.” PAGE ONE  19


Bibb County Top Teachers Address Emotional Needs of Students By Charles Richardson, PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees

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eeting basic needs of impoverished children has increasingly fallen upon schools and caring

Bibb County teacher Jarred Moore

teachers. That’s the case in Bibb County and elsewhere in Georgia. Jarred Moore, Bibb County’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, took on a young man as a mentee. Moore bought him school clothes and food, paid for his senior dues and prom and even turned down the first opportunity to teach at his alma mater because he wanted to see his mentee graduate. Moore, who now teaches at his old high school, Macon’s Northeast High, often tells his students, “Your condition does not have to be your conclusion.” His goal is to help all of his students get the resources they need to succeed. “It’s easy to recognize those students with behavior issues who are struggling with poverty at home,” Moore said, “but

“It’s easy to recognize those students with behavior issues who are struggling with poverty at home,” Moore said, “but many students who are not having attendance issues or academic problems are struggling with those same issues.” — Northeast High School (Bibb) English Teacher Jarred Moore

Photos by Jeremy Timmerman, Bibb County Schools

Middle and South Georgia Have an Alarming Percentage of Impoverished Students By Charles Richardson, PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees

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early one in four children in Georgia are impoverished, according to 2016 U.S. Census data. Those children often come to school hungry, unkempt and/or in need of medical attention. Two large sections of the state, in particular, harbor an alarming number of impoverished children. Childhood poverty tripled from 10 percent in 2005 to 31 percent in 2016 in the Georgia’s Eighth Congressional District, which covers a stretch of Middle Georgia that includes the cities of Forsyth in Monroe County, part of Macon-Bibb County, Warner Robins, Perry, Moultrie and Thomasville down to the Florida border. And in the Second Congressional District, which encompass20  PAGE ONE

Macon-Bibb County now holds the sad distinction of having the third-highest concentrated poverty rate in the nation.

es most of Macon-Bibb County, west to Columbus, including Americus, Cordele, Albany and Bainbridge, and south to the Florida line, childhood poverty grew from 32 percent in 2005 to 38 percent in 2016,

the highest rate in the state. In fact, Macon-Bibb County now holds the sad distinction of having the thirdhighest concentrated poverty rate in the nation. The county went from 30.3 percent of its population living in pockets of poverty to 44.7 percent between 2010 and 2016. The 14.4 percentage-point increase was the largest of any metro area in Georgia. In rural areas of the state, poverty is compounded by the lack of transportation, healthcare and other wraparound services. Several counties in Georgia lack a single doctor, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Thus many health issues — physical and mental — that might be diagnosed during regular checkups go undetected. In fact, Macon October/November 2018


Bibb County teacher Dominique Nichols

many students who are not having attendance issues or academic problems are struggling with those same issues.” Moore uses an app called “Remind” to communicate with his students beyond the classroom. Students use the app to get their assignments or relay when they will not be in class, but students also reach out when they need something more. One student contacted him during a school break to tell him he had no food in his house. Moore came through and has since started keeping Pop-Tarts in his classroom for hungry students. His school also has a program called

has Georgia’s lowest average life expectancy at 63.3 years. How does a child who lives daily with fear, homelessness, food insecurity, and inadequate physical and mental healthcare start to heal from his or her daily trauma and settle down in a classroom? The answer is multifaceted, but some communities are taking a holistic approach. As the March/April edition of PAGE One stated, some schools are being transformed into hubs for community wraparound services to provide food, clothing, healthcare, family counseling, and other social services. Education Funding Gets a Boost … Finally While social workers and Georgia educators are on the front lines of battling childhood poverty, Georgia lawmakers and the public at large have been slow to accept poverty as a giant obstacle to education. Over the past several years, Georgia lawmakers have failed to provide schools with adequate funding to address this “invisible epidemic” that has become all too visible. And many have laid blame October/November 2018

“Capturing Kid’s Hearts,” whereby teachers routinely evaluate challenges their students may be facing, such as family strife or lack of basic needs. The school then addresses those issues posthaste. Bibb County native and Bibb 2017 Teacher of the Year, Dominique Nichols — who credits his mother for emphasizing schooling — said that impoverished students often undervalue education. Thus, he tries to meet his Westside High School students where they are. “I pull from my experiences. We were some of the working poor. … I know the neighborhoods they live in. I walked some of the same streets,” said the English and world languages teacher. To help engage his students, some of whom lack basic reading and language skills, Nichols often begins lessons by referencing popular culture, such as songs, TV shows and movies. “If I can get them interested in what they’re learning, I can push them even further as it relates to their reading and writing ability.” Moreover, Nichols teaches to the souls of his students by way of incorporating a

at the feet of educators for not fixing this multilayered societal issue over which they have no control. “I hate to use the term intentional,” said chief of staff for the Bibb County school system, Keith Simmons, “but … it’s difficult to understand how we fund education, yet expect a different outcome than what we’re getting.” That may be starting to change, however. House Bill 338 passed last year by the General Assembly, allows the state to intervene in underperforming schools. Under the terms of the First Priority Act, students in selected schools would undergo academic and health screenings. The state also is assessing learning resources, such as internet access and parental resources, and has pledged to add supports where needed. But, as a state, we need to determine where the money will come from to pay for these interventions, and we need to attract service providers to underserved communities. In another sweeping change, Gov. Deal and the General Assembly voted this year to fully fund Georgia’s Quality Basic Education formula. But after 16 years of austerity cuts, education is not like a

“I get them to believe in who they are. I get them to consider their ideas and their dispositions about themselves and about the world that they live in, and I try to stoke a flame in them for excellence and to push them to reach for more.” — Westside High School (Bibb) English and World Languages Teacher Dominique Nichols

lot of social/emotional practices. “I do a lot of belief work with them. I get them to believe in who they are. I get them to consider their ideas and their dispositions about themselves and about the world that they live in, and I try to stoke a flame in them for excellence and to push them to reach for more. … Their self-concept is the most important thing that they have.” n

rubber band that snaps back into shape. There are lasting consequences when $8 billion is extracted from state education budgets and when local school districts are increasingly burdened by employee healthcare and pupil transportation costs. Plus, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the QBE formula, enacted in 1985, is inadequate for today’s ambitious education goals and for Georgia’s increase in childhood poverty. Simmons, however, is happy to see a start. “If you don’t acknowledge it, surely you’ll never resolve it. … For many years there were people who just believed that underperforming schools were underperforming because we were doing school n wrong,” he said. Charles E. Richardson recently retired as the editorial page editor for The (Macon) Telegraph. He has also served as a radio and television talk show host for Maconarea ABC and Fox affiliates. His many civic affiliations include being chair and current trustee of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Foundation. PAGE ONE  21


PAGE Attorneys Brief Each Other on Topical Cases Involving Georgia Educators By Lynn Varner, PAGE One Contributing Editor

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n their biennial workshop, some 30 PAGE staff attorneys and network attorneys learned about current cases involving educators who say they were wrongly placed on the Child Abuse Registry and about the liability risks of volunteers, among other legal topics. The daylong workshop was held at the PAGE office in September. Network attorney Charles Ferenchick addressed the Child Abuse Registry cases. He recently represented educators whose names were added, without their knowledge or due process, to the Child Protective Services Information System by a representative of the Department of Family and Children’s Services. The action occurred when a DFACS investigator was called to the school to investigate an alleged sexual encounter on campus among underage students. Although none of the educators were responsible for the supervision of the students involved in the incident, and other adults were present at the time, their names were added to the registry by DFACS. Only after the educators’ names and personal information were included on the registry was notice given by DFACS that the educators had

Common Types of Cases Handled by PAGE Network Attorneys: • Abandonment of Contract •  Pay Disputes • Leave • ADAAA Accommodation Issues

22  PAGE ONE

an opportunity for a hearing to have their names and personal information removed from the registry. “Educators who get notice they have been placed on the Child Abuse Registry have only 10 days to request a hearing,” said Ferenchick, an attorney with The Law Office of Kevin S. Cauley. “It is essential that legal counsel is contacted immediately after receipt of the notice.” Ferenchick’s presentation described the

Photos by Lynn Varner legal process involved in removing those educators’ names from the registry. In another presentation about a recently adjudicated case, Daniel Woodrum of The Woodrum Firm in Athens advised that, “Educators who enjoy volunteering should be wary of the blurred lines concerning the applicability of official immunity.” (Official immunity is defined as immunity accorded to a public official from liability to anyone injured by actions

PAGE Staff Attorney Matthew Pence presented on “Gold v. DeKalb.”

Georgia Professional Standards Commission Investigator John Grant. October/November 2018


PAGE attorney workshop participants included: (front row, l-r) Daniel Woodrum of The Woodrum Law Firm (Athens); Charles Ferenchick of The Law Office of Kevin S. Cauley (Cairo); Lauren Wilmer, PAGE staff attorney (Macon); Kevin Riley of Edenfield, Cox, Bruce and Classens (Statesboro); Kathryn Willis of Adams, Hemingway & Wilson (Macon); Ann Brumbaugh of The Law Office Ann Brumbaugh (Decatur); Christina Folsom of Langdale Vallotton (Valdosta); Margaret Elliott, PAGE assistant general counsel; Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE director of legislative services; Bettina Davies of Cauthorn, Nohr and O’Dell (Marietta); Yari Lawson of Lawson Raines (Lawrenceville); Stewart Duggan of Brinson, Askew and Berry (Rome) ; Ted Theus of Virgil Ted Theus (Columbus); Leonard Williams, PAGE staff attorney; Jeff Clements of Vaughn, Leggett & Clements (Calhoun) (back row, l-r) Ellen Schoolar of Lowe and Schoolar (Savannah); Brad Wilson of Adams, Hemingway & Wilson (Macon); Matthew Pence, PAGE staff attorney; Jill Hay, PAGE general counsel; Kristine Orr Brown of Orr, Brown & Billips (Gainesville); Alex Susor of The Law Offices of Alex Susor (Decatur); Allen Lightcap of Mayer and Harper (Atlanta); Daniel Digby of Daniel S. Digby & Associates (Conyers); Andy Magruder of Wilkinson and Magruder (Augusta); and Sean DeVetter, PAGE staff attorney.

that are the consequence of exerting official authority.) “Official immunity applies to educators carrying out acts in performance of their job,” said Woodrum. “After a recent Court of Appeals decision, it is unclear whether official immunity applies to volunteers serving a school district,” he added. Woodrum warns educators who volunteer within the district where they are employed to understand and document where the performance of their employment duties end and volunteer activities begin. “The distinction could be the difference between facing liability and being shielded by immunity,” he added. John Grant, a Georgia Professional Standards Commission investigator, noted that educators should have an attorney

PAGE Staff Attorney Sean DeVetter with PAGE Network Attorney Christina Folsom of Langdale Vallotton.

Charles Ferenchick with The Law Office of Kevin S. Cauley discussed child abuse registry cases.

if they are involved in a PSC case. He also advised educators: “Consider that there are consequences for your actions. Establish boundaries and act professionally at all times.” In leading a panel discussion, PAGE network attorneys Kristine Orr Brown of Orr, Brown & Billips; and Brad Wilson of Adams, Hemingway & Wilson, noted that a majority of their education-related cases currently are in the areas of abandonment of contract, pay disputes, leave and ADAAA accommodation issues.

PAGE network attorneys (from left) Daniel Digby, Daniel Woodrum and Ted Theus.

October/November 2018

Other presenters at this year’s workshop included: PAGE staff attorney Matthew Pence; PAGE network attorney Allen Lightcap of Mayer & Harper; PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs Margaret Ciccarelli; and PAGE network attorney Christina Folsom of Langdale Vallotton. PAGE Assistant General Counsel Margaret Elliott gave a memorial tribute for PAGE Network Attorney Michael Daniel of Prior, Daniel & Wiltshire, who was associated with the PAGE organizan tion for more than 15 years. 

PAGE Network Attorney Stewart Duggan of Brinson, Askew and Berry with PAGE Assistant General Counsel Margaret Elliott. PAGE ONE  23


Legal

Avoid Common Mistakes Made on Certificate Applications By Matthew Pence, PAGE Staff Attorney

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t least every five years, certified educators in Georgia must submit documentation to the Professional Standards Commission (PSC) for certificate renewal. During this process, educators must answer personal affirmation questions regarding criminal behavior and professional misconduct. Applicants for a pre-service certificate as well as initial applicants pursuing certification through an alternative plan of study, such as Georgia TAPP, must also answer these questions. Because Standard Four of the Code of Ethics for Educators (Honesty) governs applications for initial certification, upgrades and renewals, and because an answer of “yes” to any of these questions will automatically trigger an ethics investigation by the PSC, it is imperative that Georgia educators answer these questions correctly. Currently, there are nine personal affirmation questions. This article seeks to analyze those questions and provide educators with examples of common mistakes in answering them. The article also addresses questions posed by school systems on employment applications. As a threshold matter, it is important for educators to know that an answer of “no” is always appropriate for matters that the PSC has investigated in

the past (even where a sanction was issued) or is currently investigating. Standard One Criminal Questions Standard One of the Code of Ethics governs legal compliance. Under this standard, it is unethical for a Georgia educator to commit a felony or a misdemeanor involving a crime of moral turpitude; to commit any sexual offense as provided by O.C.G.A. § 16-6-1 through § 16-6-17, § 16-16-20, § 16-6-22.2, or § 16-12100; or commit any criminal offense involving the manufacture, distribution, trafficking, sale, or possession of a controlled substance or marijuana. Four of the affirmation questions (numbers five, seven, eight and nine) regard allegations of criminal misconduct. Question seven narrows itself to final judgments issued by a court, not cases that are currently pending before one. The PSC inquires about a broad litany of final judgments under this question, including orders of pre-trial diversion and first offender status. Question seven also is limited to felonies and misdemeanors involving moral turpitude. The definition of whether a crime is a felony or one of moral turpitude rests with the General Assembly and Georgia courts, particularly the Georgia Supreme Court. The application does, though, provide specific examples of crimes that the courts have declared to be crimes of moral turpitude, as well as crimes that are not. The most common mistake regarding question seven is answering “no” under the impression that some past criminal activity is expunged

An answer of “no” is always appropriate for matters that the PSC has investigated in the past (even where a sanction was issued) or is currently investigating.

24  PAGE ONE

or that a court order allows the educator to answer “no.” Expungement by a court does not mean that the PSC may not ask about an applicant’s past criminal conduct, nor does it mean that the applicant may tell the PSC “no” when asked about that conduct. Another common mistake under this question is answering “no” because the final judgment was some sort of first-offender status or pre-trial diversion program. The question itself makes it clear that this is a mistake. Question eight (“Have you ever been convicted, or pled to a lesser offense for any sexual offense?”) regards convictions involving sexual misconduct, which are almost always felonies. Question five (“Are you currently the subject of an investigation involving sexual misconduct or physical harm to a child?”) broadens sexual misconduct to include current investigations of sexual misconduct against a child. Question five further asks about current investigations involving physical harm to a child, which if true, can present educators with ethics issues under Standard One, Standard Two (Conduct with Students), and Standard Nine (Professional Conduct) of the Code of Ethics. The PSC inquires about the drug component of Standard One in the ninth question (“Have you been convicted of a drug offense, felony or misdemeanor?”). Educators must remember that this inquiry is about all drug-related crimes. It is not limited to specific drugs or offenses. The most common mistake here is answering “no” because the underlying criminal charge involved less than an ounce of marijuana. The Non-Standard One Criminal Question Question six asks if the educator is “the subject of a pending investigation involvOctober/November 2018


The most common mistake on applications for employment is failure to reveal past negative summative evaluations. ing a criminal act.” This is a broad question and is not limited to Standard One’s restrictions on felonies, misdemeanors involving moral turpitude or drugs. At the time of the application, if the educator is currently under investigation for any criminal act, he/she should answer “yes” to this question. If the disposition of the case is either an acquittal, dismissal or any final judgment encompassing guilt to a crime outside of Standard One’s purview, then the PSC will ultimately issue a finding of no probable cause. Professional Misconduct as an Educator or in Another Capacity Question four asks about misconduct as an educator: “While under investigation, have you left an employment position (retired, resigned, been dismissed, terminated, non-renewed or otherwise?)” The question does not define “investigation,” nor does it narrow itself to specific misconduct. It does not limit an “investigation” to a school district’s internal investigation or a formal investigation by law enforcement. It also does not limit itself to just employment as an educator. Questions regarding this inquiry are best addressed on a case-by-case basis. Any educator with questions about how to appropriately answer this question should consult with one of the in-house PAGE attorneys for guidance. Questions one and two inquire about other professional licenses, including teaching licenses issued by other states. Question one seeks to glean information about past sanctions against professional certificates issued by any agency other than the PSC, while question two asks about current open investigations by some other licensing agency. The most common mistake here is answering “yes” under the impression that “agency” includes a Georgia school system and October/November 2018

that an “adverse action” encompasses some sort of letter of direction or professional development plan. This is not an appropriate reading of these questions, as these questions are limited to state agencies that issue professional certificates, such as the state medical board or real estate commission. Employment Application Question These nine questions relate only to PSC certification. School systems may ask additional questions on job applications. For example, a hiring school system may inquire about past professional development plans or letters of direction, even though the PSC’s ethics division is not interested in these matters. If asked, the expectation is that the educator will answer honestly. Failure to do so can result in a sanction for dishonesty,

even when the PSC is not interested in the underlying substantive matter. The most common mistake on applications for employment is failure to reveal past negative summative evaluations. Finally, applications for employment are continuing applications. This means that educators are duty bound under Standard Four to amend an application when an answer to any question changed since the initial submission. Educators with any questions regarding PSC applications or employment applications are encouraged to call PAGE for a consultation with one of the in-house attorneys. Editor’s note: PAGE thanks Paul Shaw and Tanis Miller of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for their contributions to this article.

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Three Seasoned Educators Join PAGE Staff By Lynn Varner, PAGE One Contributing Editor

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AGE welcomes three highly skilled Minneapolis, Minnesota. and seasoned educators to its legal, She has been a member of PAGE membership and professional since 1998 during her student teachlearning departments. ing days and served as a PAGE Macon resident Lauren R. Wilmer building representative for past three joins the PAGE legal team. years at Rex Middle A former sixth grade sciSchool in Clayton ence educator, Wilmer is a County, where she recent graduate of Mercer was a Read 180 University’s Walter F. George Teacher. She began School of Law. She will her career in marremain in Macon and will keting and finance, serve PAGE members seekbut decided to leave ing legal advice in that area finance in order to of the state. She will, as do teach. “I wanted to other PAGE staff attorneys, make a tangible diftravel the state to deliver ference in the lives of Code of Ethics presentations children. I enjoyed and answer legal questions. teaching because it enabled Lauren R. Wilmer Wilmer’s legal experime to help shape the minds ence includes being a of students’ one day at a Georgia Bar Foundation fellow for the time,” Tucker shared. Southwest Georgia Victims Assistance Tucker is looking forward workAlliance; holding a judicial clerkship for ing with educators in APS and Clayton the Fulton County Juvenile Court for County and added, “I taught in Clayton (then Presiding) Chief Judge Juliette W. County for six years, and now I have the Scales; and serving as a summer associate opportunity to not only see people that I for the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. have worked with over the years, but I’m Wilmer is ready to help members with also excited about being able to network their legal needs, and said, “PAGE allows with professionals that are a part of the me to marry my passion for the law and (PAGE) organization or interested in education. I went to law school hoping to becoming a part of the organization.” find a career where I could advocate for Our third new employee is no stranger teachers or students in the educational to many PAGE members. Richard (Rick) setting. PAGE is a perfect match for my Little, Ed.D., has served as a consultant passion and allows me to provide direct with PAGE since 2015. He now joins legal help to PAGE teachers on a daily PAGE as a full-time employee who will basis.” continue his role within the With 17 years classroom PAGE legal and professionexperience, Gina Tucker of al learning departments. Stockbridge joins PAGE as With more than 46 years the Membership Services of both classroom and Representative (MSR) for administrative experience, the newly created PAGE 4B Little is uniquely qualified membership district, which to assist PAGE members includes Atlanta Public with legal issues as well as Schools and Clayton County. serve as lead for the PAGE Tucker earned her bachSouthwest Georgia School elor’s degree in middle District Network and grades education from the assistant lead for the PAGE State University of West Northwest Georgia School Gina Tucker Georgia in Carrollton and District Network, the PAGE her master’s of education degree in middle Principal Teacher Leadership Network grades education from Walden University in and the PAGE Assistant Principal Teacher October/November 2018

“I went to law school hoping to find a career where I could advocate for teachers or students … . PAGE is a perfect match for my passion and allows me to provide direct legal help to PAGE teachers on a daily basis.” — Lauren R. Wilmer, PAGE Staff Attorney, Macon

Leadership Academy. Little earned his bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee; his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; his Ed.S. degree from the State University of West Georgia in Carrollton; and his doctorate of education from the University of Alabama in Gadsden. Little has earned numerous honors throughout his career, including the Jim Puckett Outstanding Educator Award (2015) and Georgia’s National Distinguished Principal (2005). Rick Little, Ed.D. A resident of Rocky Face, Georgia, Little believes strongly in the professional learning opportunities offered by PAGE. Little explained, “Milbrey McLaughlin said, ‘The most promising strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement is building the capacity of school personnel to function as a professional learning community.’ This is the focus of our work with schools and districts across the state. The road to improving schools and experiencing the results we want for children does not lie in the management of the school (the brain), but in the relationships made with students n who are the heart of the work.” PAGE ONE  27


Professional Learning Your Classroom, Your Students

Best Practices, Research and Going to Scale By David W. Reynolds, PAGE Professional Learning

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our relationships with your students matter more than anything else when designing the work that they will do. Knowledge of your students should drive much of what you do and how you do it. PAGE research, referenced later, bears this out. Are we amateur educators if we do not ensure that the lessons and units we design are always thoroughly vetted through the lens of academic research? Most assuredly not. Research does matter, of course, and it absolutely has its place. Should we read journals and scholarly columns addressing pedagogy? Is there benefit in self-assessment and adopting aspects of tools and interventions proven to help students learn? Affirmative, on all counts. But there is another layer of teaching that matters more, at the classroom level, when you’re working side-by-side with students — more than peer-reviewed journal articles penned by authors who do not know your students. As a classroom teacher, I sought ways to support my students individually. Did Torrance, in third period, possess the prerequisite math skills needed to calculate volume for our packaging unit? What about Kenny, in first period? Could he now be trusted to safely and independently operate the wood lathe? How should we support Teresa, a student in the last class period of the day? Until difficulties with her vision were resolved, the band saw was off limits. Kelly and Debbie, both desiring

to enter an upcoming state competition, had after-school transportation limitations. There were dozens of students, presenting myriad distinct situations, interests, and intellectual inclinations. My goal was designing experiences that could reach these specific students, and the other 100-plus young men and women that spent time in our shared learning space every day. And from where did I draw ideas and assistance that resulted in highly relevant lessons? From interactions with my students and from discussions with fellow educators. I was the only industrial arts teacher in the building at the time, but I had some fantastic colleagues with whom I conversed, and we taught some of the same children. What matters most is not so much the specifics of a program, but how well we match what we know about our students (and others) with the resources at hand. A core tenet of PAGE professional learning is knowing one’s students. “Who is this for?” and “What is this for?” are the questions the best teachers continually ask. The answers give rise

Where did I draw ideas and assistance that resulted in highly relevant lessons? From interactions with my students and from discussions with fellow educators. 28  PAGE ONE

to riveting learning experiences enabling students to excel in both familiar and new situations. Developing relationships based on knowledge of one’s learners is the true essence of “best practices.” Similarly, “going to scale” appeals to me as an educator in a way that deviates from its typical meaning. Taking a successful venture in one place and implementing it in many other locations can sometimes be an effective step in the process of changing practices and attitudes. But for me, I want to figure out how to make something work for one more learner, or make it work again for the same learner on another day. Taking my learning — about teaching and learning — to the next level is what “going to scale” means in my world. What happens, then, when the best of both worlds intersects in a thoughtful way? What happens when research meets best practices, and spreads, because of the impact of strong relationships? Exactly what you would expect to happen: learning accelerates, and the school culture shifts its trajectory. Imagine a school where the following descriptors apply day after day. • “Teachers have meaningful relationships with students.” • “Teachers have strong work-centered October/November 2018


“Who is this for?” and “What is this for?” are the questions the best teachers continually ask. The answers give rise to riveting learning experiences enabling students to excel in both familiar and new situations. relationships with their fellow teachers.” • “Teachers are responsible for leading the design of engaging classroom instruction.” • “The school’s purpose is focused on engaging students in meaningful work.” Teachers at schools serving as case study sites (inside one prong of PAGE research) are focusing intently and intentionally on collaboration. As an outgrowth of involvement in a multi-year PAGE professional learning initiative, one teacher summed up the experience in this way: “Just having that time with administrators and getting together as a group … and sharing each of our opinions … it has

changed so many things.” Another teacher recommended that educators need even more time dedicated to sharing lessons and ideas. “People want to know how… ‘how does this [engaging work] look?’ and ‘how do you do it?’ Or, ‘do I start by trying to motivate them first, before I get to the essential question?’” Great teachers ask these pivotal questions about their own work in order to help students succeed. Interviews, focus groups, and other sources of information also generated the following evidence emerging from this work: • Educators are learning to better address challenges associated with student and family poverty. • Design qualities are becoming more

widely understood, valued, and used. • A culture of trust is emerging and growing stronger at their schools. • Four of the five schools cite engagement as a vital component in their school improvement plans. Finally, the teachers who are participating in these learning groups rightfully view themselves as leaders. A key to cultivating a robust learning community is the development of teachers as leaders, especially when administrative changes occur fairly often in so many schools and districts. Teacher-leaders can provide the stability and focus needed to keep student learning as the top priority. As leaders, teachers can do much to help grow a school into a vibrant learning community. This article highlights the experiences of educators who have broadened and deepened their collective professional repertoire through PAGE professional learning opportunities. PAGE is examining ways that more teachers can join similar networks of learners, regardless of a school’s formal involvement in a PAGE initiative. PAGE will keep you apprised of n these developments as they unfold.

PAGE ONE Magazine Professional Association of Georgia Educators Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation Title of Publication: PAGE ONE Magazine: Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Publication Number: 1523-6188. Date of filing: September 18, 2018. Frequency of issue: Five times yearly. Number of issues published annually: Five. Location of known office of publication: New South Publishing, Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30350. Owner: Professional Association of Georgia Educators, 2971 Flowers Road South, Suite 151, Atlanta, GA 31141. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Circulation of single issue published nearest to filing date: Total copies printed, 78,005. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter: 0. Mail subscriptions, 76,803. Total paid circulation, 76,803. Free distribution (by mail carrier or other means, including samples) 1,160. Total distribution, 77,963. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 42. Average circulation for each issue in preceding 12 months. Total copies printed, 77,095. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter, 0. Mail subscriptions, 75,886. Total paid circulation, 75,886. Free distribution (by mail, carrier or other means, including samples) 1,160. Total distribution, 77,046. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 49. Percent paid and/or requested circulation: 98.5%.

October/November 2018

$1,000 Scholarships for Future and Veteran Educators … But You Can’t Win if You Don’t Apply!

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ant to lose $1,000? It is easy if you fail to apply for a PAGE Foundation Scholarship that might have been yours. Each year, the PAGE Foundation offers several $1,000 scholarships to help aspiring and veteran educators earn advanced or undergraduate degrees. Winning a PAGE Foundation Scholarship might be easier than you think; in some categories, few candidates apply. All PAGE members, including college students, paraprofessionals and veteran educators, are encouraged to compete. More than $300,000 in scholarships have been awarded by the PAGE Foundation since 1986. You could be a future recipient, but you must apply. Visit www.pagefoundation.org/scholarships to learn more.

PAGE ONE  29


PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon Curriculum Encompasses the 1960s, Lasers and Tom Stoppard By Lynn Varner, PAGE One Contributing Editor

Photos By Lynn Varner

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he 175-plus students and coaches interviews and will feature a collaborative be expected to do at nationals. who attended the PAGE Georgia Super Quiz. To facilitate the change in format, the Academic Decathlon Fall GAD State Director Michelle state competition will move to Parkview Workshop in September immersed them- Crawford believes the changes will betHigh School in Gwinnett County. selves in “The 1960s: A Transformational ter prepare Georgia’s decathletes for This year’s PAGE GAD State Decade,” this year’s curriculum topic. national competition because the state Competition will be held Feb. 22 and 23, n Decathletes also are studying light, optics competition will mirror what they will 2019. and lasers in conjunction with the science curriculum, as well as the Tom Stoppard play, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” this year’s long work of literature. Sponsored by PAGE and Kennesaw State University, the daylong workshop was held at the KSU Center. General and breakout sessions covered topics such as science, literature, More than 175 students and coaches attended this year’s GAD Fall Workshop. speech, interview, art, social science, music and economics. KSU faculty and GAD coordinators led the sessions. In other news, the format of the 2019 GAD state competition will more closely resemble that of the USAD National Dr. Seneca Vaught, KSU associate Finals competition in that it professor of history and interdisciplinary Keynote speaker Dr. William Rice, KSU professor of will move to arena testing and English, highlights the “Order and Disorder of the 1960s.”

The PAGE GAD Advisory Board held its annual meeting in conjunction with the fall workshop. Pictured are (front row, l-r): fall workshop coordinator Dee Rule; speech coordinator Heather Dobson; Villa Rica HS coach Cynthia Cox; state director Michelle Crawford; Parkview HS coach Melodie Carr; APS district coordinator Cadence Spearman. Back row: Hardaway HS coach Carmen Kimsey Morris; student volunteer coordinator and Gwinnett County district coordinator Amy Hammond; Muscogee County district coordinator James Special; past state director Cary Sell; APS district coordinator Buck Greene; Cross Creek HS coach Kirsten Avret.

30  PAGE ONE

studies, poses questions about the 1960s.

The 1960s was a defining decade for music, as described by KSU Assistant Professor of Music History Dr. Kayleen Justus.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jeremy Gulley, KSU associate professor of physics, explores the “Science of the 1960s.”

GAD’s Rachel Murphy discusses elements of a successful interview.

October/November 2018


2018 PAGE Foundation Scholarship Recipients Announced

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he PAGE Foundation awarded 13 scholarships to professional, support personnel, and teacher candidate PAGE members this year. “Nurturing new and experienced educators so that Georgia students benefit from their enhanced learning is a pri-

mary focus of PAGE,” said Craig Harper, executive director of PAGE. “It’s an honor that the PAGE Foundation is able to provide scholarships for these deserving teachers and students to continue their education.” The scholarships are one-time awards

of $1,000 each. The application process begins each fall. Recipients competed through an application process, and a panel of judges determined the winners. Eligibility requirements and application information will be available at PAGEFoundation.org/scholarships.

2018 PAGE Foundation Scholarship Recipients PAGE Jack Christmas Graduate Scholarship Michele Kuykendall • Second Grade Teacher, Locust Grove Elementary School, Henry County Schools • Attending Walden University • Pursuing M.Ed. in Literacy and Reading PAGE Charles “Coach” Cooper Scholarship Victoria Laine Corr • Teacher, Woodstock Middle School, Cherokee County Schools • Attending Georgia State University • Pursuing Ph.D. in Teaching & Learning, Science Education PAGE Professional Scholarships Karen Erica Capes • Guidance Counselor, • Puckett’s Mill Elementary School, Gwinnett County Schools • Attending University of the Cumberlands • Pursuing Graduate Degree in School Guidance Counseling Sequaya Elaine Chapman • Interrelated Teacher, Rockdale County High School, Rockdale County Schools • Attending Georgia Southern College • Pursuing Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies

October/November 2018

Suzannah Cordas • School Counselor, Riverside Elementary School, Columbia County Schools • Attending Augusta University • Pursuing Ed.S. in Counseling Lisa Trawick Duke • Second Grade Teacher, Daughtry Elementary School, Butts County Schools • Attending University of West Georgia • Pursuing Ed.S. in Early Childhood Education SeTia Yvette Freeman • Gifted Support Teacher, Stockbridge Elementary School, Henry County Schools • Attending Kennesaw State University • Pursuing M.Ed. in Elementary & Early Childhood Education Jeremy Daniel Shain • School Counselor, Bay Springs Middle School, Carroll County Schools • Attending Oregon State University • Pursuing Ph.D. in Counseling

Pursuing M.A.T in Early Childhood Alaina Joyce Thigpen • Special Education Parapro, North Harlem Elementary School, Columbia County Schools • Attending University of Phoenix • Pursuing Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education PAGE S. Marvin Griffin Memorial Scholarship Tram Ngo Nguyen • Attending Georgia State University • Early Childhood Education Emily Brooke Tyler • Attending Shorter University • Secondary Math Education PAGE Undergraduate Scholarship Ellen Mae Brock • Attending TruettMcConnell University • Early Childhood Education

PAGE Support Personnel Scholarship Idna Genis Melendez • Instructional Clerk, Bethesda Elementary School, Gwinnett County Schools • Attending Mercer University

Continued on next page

PAGE ONE  31


2018 PAGE High School Scholarships The PAGE Foundation also offers scholarships to Future Georgia Educators (FGE) participants. The PAGE Dr. Alton Crews Future Georgia Educators Scholarship was established two years ago. This year’s recipients are Caitlin Denise Vaughn, who attends the University of West Georgia, and Zoe L. Smith, who attends Mississippi State University. The scholarship honors Dr. Alton Crews, a respected Georgia educator, who distinguished himself as a school superintendent and as PAGE president. Dr. Crews was a visionary leader who recognized the need to recruit and nurture successive generations of professional Georgia educators through initiatives such as Future Georgia Educators.

PAGE Dr. Alton Crews Future Georgia Educators Scholarship Caitlin Denise Vaugh Attending University of West Georgia

OFFICERS President: Dr. Hayward Cordy President-Elect: Nick Zomer Treasurer Lamar Scott Past President: Kelli De Guire Secretary Megan King DIRECTORS District 1 District 8 Dr. Oatanisha Dawson Lindsey Martin District 2 District 9 Brecca Pope Jennie Persinger District 3 District 10 Jamilya M. Mayo Khrista Henry District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand Dr. Sandra Owens District 5 District 12 TBD TBD District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Daerzio Harris District 7 Lance James DIRECTORS REPRESENTING RETIRED MEMBERS Vickie Hammond Stephanie Davis Howard

32  PAGE ONE

Another FGE scholarship is the PAGE Marcia T. Clanton Future Educator Scholarship. This year’s recipient is Maria Belle Reynolds, who attends Coastal Carolina University. The scholarship, established in 2013, honors Clanton, a lifelong educator, who worked in both the Jackson and Chatham school systems for 31 years. She served as a teacher, principal and associate superintendent during her career and was the Superintendent of the Putnam County Charter School System in Eatonton, Georgia, at the time of her passing. The high school scholarships are one-time awards of $500 each. The application process begins each fall. Eligibility requirements and application information will be available at PAGEFoundation.org/scholarships. n

PAGE Dr. Alton Crews Future Georgia Educators Scholarship Zoe L. Smith Attending Mississippi State University

PAGE Marcia T. Clanton Future Educator Scholarship Maria Belle Reynolds Attending Coastal Carolina

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, mthornton@pageinc.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 2018-19 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 ©2018.

October/November 2018


CREATIVITY. INNOVATION. EDUCATION. Columbus State University’s College of Education and Health Professions offers a multitude of world-class master’s, specialist’s, and doctoral degree programs, as well as certificates and endorsements. Our courses are designed to accommodate the busy schedules of working professionals, with many programs available online and recognized by the US News & World Report as among the “Best Online Graduate Programs” in the region. At Columbus State University, we passionately believe that teaching is one of the noblest of endeavors. The courses taught here, the lessons learned, the training our graduates take with them into their own classrooms - these experiences prepare you to positively influence the lives and cultivate the minds of your students. And when you teach a person how to learn, you have already changed the world. ColumbusState.edu/COEHP

DOCTOR OF EDUCATION PROGRAM (EDD) Curriculum & Leadership with tracks in: Curriculum Educational Leadership Higher Education (ONLINE)  EDUCATION SPECIALIST PROGRAMS (EDS) Early Childhood Education (ONLINE) Educational Leadership (ONLINE)  Middle Grades Education Secondary Education Special Education (ONLINE)  MASTER OF EDUCATION PROGRAMS (MED) Art Education Curriculum & Instruction in Accomplished Teaching (ONLINE)  Early Childhood Education (ONLINE)  Educational Leadership (ONLINE)  Education Leadership-Leadership in Higher Education (ONLINE)  Health & Physical Education Middle Grades Education School Counseling Secondary Education Special Education (ONLINE)  Teacher Leadership (ONLINE)  Theatre Education MASTER OF ARTS IN TEACHING PROGRAMS (MAT) Art Education Early Childhood Education Education (Online) with concentrations in: Secondary Biology (ONLINE)  Secondary Chemistry (ONLINE) Secondary Earth Space Science (ONLINE)  Secondary Mathematics (ONLINE)  Secondary Physics (ONLINE)  K-12 Computer Science (ONLINE)  Health & Physical Education Middle Grades Education Secondary Education Special Education (ONLINE)  CERTIFICATES & ENDORSEMENTS Computer Science Teacher Endorsement (ONLINE)  English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) (ONLINE)  Gifted Education (ONLINE)  K-5 Mathematics Endorsement (ONLINE)  K-5 Science Endorsement (ONLINE)  Online Teaching (ONLINE)  Pre-school Special Education (ONLINE)  Reading (ONLINE)  Teacher Leadership (ONLINE)  TESOL (ONLINE)


WE MAKE GREAT TEACHERS.

You Make a Difference. Mercer University has been teaching Georgia’s teachers and educational leaders for more than 100 years. Whether you’re an aspiring teacher or a current educator looking to enhance your skills or prepare for a leadership role beyond the classroom, Mercer’s education programs will inspire you to become a difference maker.

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP. 800.762.5404 mercereducation@mercer.edu

education.mercer.edu DEGREES & PROGRAMS INITIAL CERTIFICATION • Early Childhood/Special Education, B.S.Ed. • Early Childhood/Special Education (Non-Degree) • Early Childhood Education, M.A.T. • Early Childhood Education (Non-Degree) • Early Learning and Development, B.S.Ed.* • Middle Grades Education, B.S.Ed. • Middle Grades Education, M.A.T. • Middle Grades Education (Non-Degree) • School Counseling, M.S.** ↗ • Secondary Education – STEM, M.A.T. • Secondary Education, M.A.T. • Secondary Education (Non-Degree)

ADVANCED TEACHER EDUCATION • Autism Endorsement • Curriculum and Instruction, Ph.D. ↗ • Early Childhood Education, Ed.S. • Early Childhood Education, M.Ed. • ESOL Endorsement • K-5 Math Endorsement • K-5 Science Endorsement • Middle Grades Education, M.Ed. • Reading Endorsement • Secondary Education, M.Ed. • STEM Endorsement • Teacher Leadership, Ed.S.

EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP • Educational Leadership (P-12 Tier One), M.Ed. • Educational Leadership (P-12 Tier Two), Ed.S. • Educational Leadership Tier One Certification Only (Non-Degree) • Educational Leadership Tier Two Certification Only (Non-Degree) • Educational Leadership, Ph.D. ↗ • Higher Education Leadership* • P-12 School Leadership • Higher Education Leadership, M.Ed.* • Independent and Charter School Leadership, M.Ed.*

↗ GRE or MAT required for these programs. *These programs do not lead to certification. **This program is offered through Mercer University’s Penfield College. 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 in Georgia are approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).

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Profile for PAGE One Magazine

PAGE One Magazine, Oct.-Nov. 2018  

PAGE One magazine, published by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, covers topical issues impacting public school educators t...

PAGE One Magazine, Oct.-Nov. 2018  

PAGE One magazine, published by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, covers topical issues impacting public school educators t...