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October/November 2019

The Digital Divide in Georgia

How a lack of technology access is impacting students in rural Georgia, and what school districts are doing to overcome these barriers

ALSO: How Perspective Shapes Teaching | Georgia’s Top Teachers | PAGE Foundation Scholarships


Contents

October/November 2019

Vol. 41 No. 2

10

Features

10  The Digital Divide in Georgia: How a lack of technology access is impacting students in rural Georgia, and what school districts are doing to overcome these barriers

Columns

Departments

2  From the President Football or Almond? How Perspective Shapes Teaching

Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists 4  Stephanie Peterson, Lowndes County Schools: Learning is a Fun-Filled Adventure for Lowndes’ ‘Crazy Chicken Lady’

3  From the Executive Director Our Influence Upon Students Ripples Across Generations

8  Teresa Thompson, Tattnall County Schools: Individualized Virtual Classroom ‘Is Where All the Magic Happens’

Legal 26  Students, Free Speech and Public Schools Student Programs 28  PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon Fall Workshop Kicks off 20192020 Season PAGE Foundation 30  2019 PAGE Foundation Scholarship Recipients

Professional Learning 24  For Unless They See the Sky, but They Can’t and That Is Why …

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28 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 2019

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

Editor Cory Sekine-Pettite

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

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From the President

Football or Almond? How Perspective Shapes Teaching Nick Zomer

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n my household, football find ways to reach and inspire IS IT AN ALMOND is a way of life. We count our students in the learning OR A FOOTBALL? down the minutes until process. Making assumptions the start of the next season. that all students have simiFriday nights are spent watchlar background experiences ing high school games; the sets them up for failure. Phil weekend is a blur of college Schlechty’s book “Working on and professional contests. My the Work” was an influential children know the lyrics to component of my induccollege fight songs and haption years in the classroom. pily watch a game from start Of all the design qualities to finish. Footballs of all colors, materials presented in the text, the component that and sizes fill our house. This is my reality. resonated most with me was “relevancy Recently my wife, an educator herself, and authenticity.” Because of it, I often texted me a picture of an orange Nerf foot- found myself asking, “Why do the students ball her students use at recess. She includneed to know this?” and “How does this ed a caption overheard from students: relate to their lives?” Understanding that “Whoever gets hit by this almond is it.” the perspectives of each student are vastly I read this as the students using their different challenged me to find meaningful imaginations to invent a new game. For answers to these questions. By approaching my own children, anything oval shaped each lesson, lab or activity with relevancy can become a football. For these students, in mind, I felt that I was better equipped the foam object represented something to engage my students, regardless of their entirely different. The situation brought to background. light the differences in how our students see and experience the world. A World of Difference As I pondered “Is it an almond or a Most of my classroom experience was as a football,” I was reminded of a Ruby Payne seventh-grade science teacher. A culminatpoverty quiz that included questions such ing activity of the year was a grade-level as which churches have the best rummage field trip to Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia sales or which community programs offer Aquarium. It was humbling to see my shelter or medical assistance. The quesstudents take in, some for the very first tions required background experiences time, Atlanta’s sights and wonders, includthat I did not have and would struggle to ing buildings that seemed to touch the sky. answer — just like those students struggled With the sprawling metropolis less than with identifying the football. Background 30 miles from my school, it was hard to experiences, as different as they may be, comprehend that some students had never shape the meaning behind the learning been downtown. that occurs in our classrooms. It baffled me to watch the kids run first As educators, we are challenged daily to for the gift shop, purchasing silly trinkets

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to remember their trip. Although I initially thought it was because their parents had given them money to burn, I now understand that for many, this little item held symbolic value in their lives. For some, this was the only relic that they owned to show off their visit to the “big city.” If this is happening for students from Cherokee County, I cannot imagine what the same trip would be like for a student from the farthest corners of Georgia, where a trip to Atlanta is more than a simple ride down the interstate. On one trip, we drove past a homeless person sleeping at the base of a statue. When the large charter bus idled at a stoplight, word of this unusual (to them) sight flooded the bus, and before long everyone was jockeying for position at the windows to see for themselves. This was the first time that some of the students had ever seen a person who did not have a residence with four walls and separate bedrooms to call home. In that moment, they realized that there are people who are forced to carry all of their possessions with them as they move from place to place each night. So, to you I ask, is it a football or is it an almond? Do you consider the experiences of your students and the challenges they face when you prepare for them each day? How do you use the differences that exist in your classroom as teachable tools to help prepare the future generations? Our students’ experiences can be valuable teaching tools. We must continue to embrace and celebrate the differences of our students and use these experiences to drive our instruction in meaningful ways n inside, and outside, of the classroom. 

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From the Executive Director

Our Influence Upon Students Ripples Across Generations Craig Harper

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ords of appreciation from tive influence that rippled across multiple students can be elusive. As generations. How gratifying to receive that you struggle with particularly recognition more than 40 years later! challenging — or even defiant — students, it may often feel like it’s not worth the effort. A Lifetime of Gratitude Keeping the potential future success of Most of our 15 membership service repstudents in mind during present challenges resentatives (MSRs) provide support in one is difficult, yet it’s important. Several PAGE or more districts in which they worked as staff received powerful reminders in recent educators, and their teaching careers often weeks of how educators really do make a spanned enough time that their former difference in the lives of children. students have joined the profession. In such Gayle Wooten, PAGE director of human cases, MSRs often have the pleasure of resources, is a former teacher, social worker/ interacting with them as fellow educators, visiting teacher, principal and superintendent and they even receive surprising and gratiin South Georgia. Her lifelong compassion fying acknowledgement of their personal and concern for others are among her stron- influence on a former student’s decision to gest traits. She served as a great advocate pursue a career in education. for children no matter what role she filled. Such incidents provide a “why I do what As we were talking in her office one day I do” moment, as expressed by one MSR in August, she received a message through in relating a heartwarming story of such a Facebook from a student she helped in the connection with a successful educator who, late 1970s. Something prompted him to as a student, experienced a troublesome, reach out to her and share his deep apprecia- difficult educational path. Three years ago, tion of her. He said her persistent visits to his while visiting faculty at a school, the PAGE home when he was a middle school student, representative quickly noticed a former insisting that he come to school despite his student of hers. The new teacher recognized protests, made all the difference in his life. her immediately, and he apologized proHe was dealing with family poverty issues fusely for being such a “bad kid.” outside his control. Gayle’s encouragement “I visited his school during preplanning, and unwavering expectations helped him and he was quick to tell everyone that he had stay in school and keep going despite the challenges. He graduated from high school Her former student posted that and joined the Army, serving in the U.S. she ‘was one of those teachers and overseas, before returning to Georgia that molded me into the person, to work and raise his family. teacher, coach, husband and He told her, “I know it’s long overdue, parent I am today. I know I was but I just wanted to thank you for pushprobably not the easiest kid to ing me to stay in school. It really made a difference in my life!” teach, but she made an amazing What an amazing affirmation of posi-

impact on my life.’

October/November 2019

known me before and about his unpleasant past,” said the MSR. “The next time I visited, he was returning for his second year and seemed to be thriving,” she said. This year, as her former student began his third year of teaching, the PAGE representative spoke again at the school faculty meeting. “As I left, he followed me out the door and down the hall,” she said. “He wanted to let me know that he has been asked to serve on a state committee for alternative education programs and has been asked to present his methods for reaching students at a state conference. His principal has shared with me how well he relates to the at-risk students he teaches and how he goes above and beyond to reach even the most difficult students.” A short while back, another PAGE MSR had a similar fulfilling experience when she visited a school and saw among the educators a gentleman who was a former second-grade student of hers. After a warm reunion, her former student then posted that she “was one of those teachers that molded me into the person, teacher, coach, husband and parent I am today. I know I was probably not the easiest kid to teach, but she made an amazing impact on my life. This made my day!” That teacher’s child is now a teacher as well. If each of us could fully grasp the future results of meaningful connection and influence, how inspired would we be in the here and now? Every extra effort to recognize and build up the person a student can become is worth the investment — although the return may never be fully known. Fortunately, sometimes the reward n finally pays off even 40 years later.

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TOTY Runner-Up Stephanie Peterson, Westside Elementary School, Lowndes County Schools

Learning is a Fun-Filled Adventure for Lowndes’ ‘Crazy Chicken Lady’ By Meg Thornton, PAGE One Editor

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estside Elementary School teacher Stephanie Peterson masterfully connects the curriculum to her Lowndes County community, no matter the subject area or ability level of students. The runner-up for Georgia Teacher of the Year describes her teaching style as multidisciplinary and hands-on. Learning in her life-cycle unit (which she

‘Perceived “play” is the best kind of learning.’ — Stephanie Peterson 4  PAGE ONE

taught to second graders before being promoted to K-5 agriculture teacher this year) involved real-life observations, research and discovery. Students participated in small groups with differentiated activities, and used language arts, math, social studies and science skills to solve real-world challenges, just as they did in creating the school garden, Monarch Waystation and chicken coop. Daily assignments included monitoring larvae and adult monarchs, and rotated duties involved watering flowers, weeding, deadheading and collecting freshly hatched eggs from the chicken coops. Peterson believes that outdoor activities help students expend excess

energy as it boosts creativity and concentration, enhances mood and recharges the routine. “Perceived ‘play’ is the best kind of learning,” she states. One day, her students discovered an aphids infestation on the milkweed (host plant for monarchs). No milkweed, no monarchs! Being flexible, Peterson’s class focused immediately on solving this real-life problem. Learning was spontaneous, relevant and lively. As her young scientists read an article about how to eliminate aphids, they learned new words. There were three new techniques to try: rubbing alcohol and water solution; banana peels; and planting marigolds as repellants. One group wrote letters October/November 2019


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Chick Chick Hooray!

Years ago, when Peterson brought chicks into her classroom, the excited students elected to design, build and manage an indoor coop. This became a spring tradition. The class then purchased an incubator to hatch their own chicks. “Two years ago, we watched our first two chicks hatch, and it was beautiful,” she says. “Chick Chick Hooray Student of the Day” is now part of the school’s weekly PBIS incentive program. Recognized students feed the chickens and gather eggs. Last year, the class collaborated with the Parent Teacher Organization and community partners to build an outdoor school chicken coop and a gazebo, which serves as an outdoor STEAM classroom. Students and teachers built raised flower beds around the gazebo and chose plants to sustain a habitat for monarchs in accordance with Monarchs Across Georgia. The garden is now globally certified as a Monarch Waystation. Peterson, who has written over $60,000 October/November 2019

in educational grants, secured grant funding for milkweed plants, a chicken brooder, butterfly larvae and an egg candler. Each second-grade classroom received larvae to observe the life cycle of a butterfly and participated in Earth Day butterfly releases. Peterson shares research, lessons, and activities through planbook.com and with themed traveling trunks for each unit of study. These contain artifacts, insect collections, books, eggs, seeds, and yes, sometimes even live animals! Student ambassadors deliver the trunks and conduct mini lessons. “Student impact has been phenomenal!” says Peterson. For the past two years, her students won the Raisin’ Cane “Working Farm” writing and art contest. Last year, all second-grade students met the science standards and office referrals decreased.

An Inspirational Teacher Leader

A 24-year educator who grew up in Lowndes County, Peterson is an inspirational and generous teacher leader. “Most of all, I encourage [fellow teachers] to be

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to solicit banana peels. Another used an Excel graph to track aphid reductions. And other students applied aphid repellant techniques, charted monarch sightings and used magnifying glasses to count and tally aphids for data comparisons.

Soon after Peterson began encouraging fellow teachers to be adventurous in their own classrooms, ‘there were hamsters, a rabbit, a goat and other visiting critters all over the school enhancing learning and improving the school culture,’ she notes. brave and adventurous in their own classrooms,” says Peterson. Soon after Peterson began advocating such risk-taking among her fellow educators, “There were hamsters, a rabbit, a goat and other visiting critters all over the school enhancing learning and improving the school culture,” she notes. Last year, Peterson was chosen by the state to participate in a three-year Pilot Agricultural Education Program that began this August. The program aims to reduce the class size of exploratory rotations as well as the science content burden on colleagues. This year, Peterson is teaching the elementary agriculture standards that she is helping develop as a member of the Georgia Agriculture Task Force. “I try to incorporate grade-level science and social studies standards into my Ag lessons each day,” she adds. A single mom for 11 years, Peterson says that she has always struggled to fit the mold of what she thought an educaContinued on next page PAGE ONE  5


Peterson struggled to fit the ‘mold’ of what she thought an educator should be. ‘I felt judged, insecure, ashamed, unworthy and damaged after getting out of an abusive marriage. … I made a deliberate choice to rise above my circumstances … . Now, I am the best version of myself. I love who I am and insist my students love themselves exactly as they are.’

tor should be. “I felt judged, insecure, ashamed, unworthy and damaged after getting out of an abusive marriage. My confidence evaporated, but I had my young sons to think of. Raising them as victims was not an option! I made a deliberate choice to rise above my circumstances and resolved to use my resources to prevail and raise two healthy, well-rounded, competent young men,” she relates.

Fortunately, with age comes wisdom, says Peterson, “and I became confident in myself and began to embrace my creativity, love of animals and silly entertaining personality. … Now, I am the best version of myself. I love who I am and insist my students love themselves exactly as they are.” Everyone teaches a different way, she adds. “In a world of high-stakes teacher accountability, find your voice and be radiant. Use your unique gifts, no matter how unusual they may seem. How else are we going to teach students to accept themselves? In my case, I’m the crazy chicken lady, and it rocks!” A PAGE member, Peterson earned a bachelor’s, master’s, and education specialist degree through Valdosta State University and has achieved National n Board Certification.

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TOTY Finalist Teresa Thompson, South Tattnall Middle School, Tattnall County Schools

Individualized Virtual Classroom ‘Is Where All the Magic Happens’ By Meg Thornton, PAGE One Editor

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s Tattnall Middle School’s Response to Intervention/study skills and computer science/ engineering teacher (and, until this year, the ESOL teacher), the needs of Teresa Thompson’s students are varied, complex and immediate: Each lesson must address the needs of non-native English speakers, below-grade-level readers and a wide range of technology skills.

Thompson credits Google Classroom — an integrated part of learning at her school — for enabling her to effectively manage classroom content and achieve learning targets. “Physically, my classroom has 67 desktop computers arranged for whole group, small group and individualized instruction. However, my virtual classroom is where all the magic happens,” she notes.

‘We have realized that by middle school, most students are able to demonstrate growth, but they need extra support given in a specific and targeted manner, along with dedicated time to allow the interventions to work.’ — Teresa Thompson 8  PAGE ONE

Upon entering class, students log in to the Google Classroom that Thompson has set up for each of them. Assignments tend to be cross-curricular, and Thompson supports fellow teachers by planning aligned lessons. “I work extensively with teachers to stay abreast of current units of study, particularly English/language arts, though I support other content areas as well,” she says. Last year, when sixth graders studied the solar system, Thompson created a literacy-focused WebQuest virtual scavenger hunt. It used common Google applications, websites and content, but tasks were individualized to each student’s Lexile reading level. A vocabulary component and explanatory images further assisted below-grade level readers and ESOL students, and a Google Translate link allowed ESOL students to hear terms in their native language as well as in English. October/November 2019


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Advanced Strategies for Intervention Meeting individual student needs and tracking progress can overwhelm teachers, who are already creating student-centered lesson plans; provid-

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Setting up such a project requires individualized or small-group instruction, “however, once students dive in, they are very engaged and eager to research, read, learn and create,” says Thompson, who adds that this approach allows her to work one-on-one with students to target weaknesses with reading fluency and reading comprehension. This result has increased Lexile scores and improved reading confidence.

ing timely feedback; keeping students engaged and challenged; and managing their social, emotional and academic needs. While Student Support Team (SST) and Response-to-Intervention (RTI) programs have existed for years, thoroughly documenting these efforts is highly challenging. To address this, Thompson was asked in 2017 to oversee the school’s Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) program. To meet the challenge, she became an expert on the research-based strategies for interventions. She then streamlined documentation, opened lines of communications to parents, organized meetings and began progress monitoring the children in Tiers 2 and 3. “During monthly meetings with gradelevel teachers, we look at each child’s progress or lack of growth. I provide guidance on how weaknesses may impact other content areas, strategies that can be used to help the student show growth, results of progress monitoring, and possible next steps that we should consider,” she states. Before this initiative, there were misunderstandings about MTSS, SST and RTI. Many viewed those avenues as a pathway to special education instead of a way to gain a deeper understanding of a student’s individual needs and how to provide the needed support for growth. “We have realized that by middle school,

‘During monthly meetings with grade-level teachers, we look at each child’s progress or lack of growth. I provide guidance on how weaknesses may impact other content areas, strategies that can be used to help the student show growth, results of progress monitoring and possible next steps.’ — Teresa Thompson most students are able to demonstrate growth, but they need extra support given in a specific and targeted manner, along with dedicated time to allow the interventions to work,” she adds. Further proof of Thompson’s success is her being voted Tattnall County Teacher of the Year. On that note, Thompson responds: “Exploratory teachers are usually not given the consideration of TOTY by other teachers solely because exploratory is not viewed as a high-stakes, high-impact area. However, this year, that changed.” Thompson, a PAGE member, has taught in her hometown of Glennville for the past 18 years, after teaching seven years in neighboring Liberty County. She earned a bachelor’s of science in middle grades education and a master’s in instructional technology at Georgia Southern University, and an education specialist degree in curriculum and n instruction from Argosy University.

South Tattnell’s Innovation Station is a classroom for cross-curricular lessons (science and ELA, for example). ‘The kids love it, and it truly allows for students to see the connections between classes,’ says Thompson. Pictured are (l-r) Jr. Beta sponsors Kerry Waters, Thompson and Hunter Copelan.

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The Digital Divide in Georgia

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How a lack of technology access is impacting students in rural Georgia, and what school districts are doing to overcome these barriers By Scotty Brewington

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t started out as an old prison bus. Now, it’s a mobile classroom for pre-K students in rural Montgomery County. The Eagle Express mobile classroom is a place for students to read and practice their vocabulary skills while parents learn strategies to help them succeed in kindergarten. A teacher reads aloud and students can check out books to take home, but their favorite part of the bus is the 55-inch interactive panel and the iPads that are loaded with educational games. “Most of our students don’t have high-speed Internet access at home,” said Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Hugh Kight. “We’ve found a lot of our students in rural areas don’t come to school until kindergarten, so they are behind. This helps them get a little better prepared.” Montgomery County Schools serves around 900 elementary through high school students spread over several small, rural communities. Some 72 percent of students in the county qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Every day, the bus parks in a different location in the community. Since the program started two years ago, the district’s kindergarten readiness scores have improved 12 percent. All across America, technology has transformed learning in the classroom. Printed textbooks have been replaced with digital ones. Smart boards enable teachers and students to better interact and collaborate, and a host of educational apps are being used for everything from teaching world history to taking virtual field trips abroad. Beyond the classroom, students can search the Internet for help with their homework, as well as remotely connect with teachers and download study materials and classroom resources. When school is closed for inclement weather, some districts, such as Gwinnett, DeKalb and Forsyth counties, even offer “virtual learning days” so students can keep up with their assignments. The only things students need to take advantage of these free resources is a computer and a reliable high-speed Internet connection at home, which many rural Georgia students still don’t have.

EVERY DAY, MONTGOMERY COUNTY’S EAGLE EXPRESS BUS PARKS IN A DIFFERENT LOCATION IN THE COMMUNITY. ‘Most of our students don’t have high-speed Internet access at home,’ said Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Hugh Kight. ‘We’ve found a lot of our students in rural areas don’t come to school until kindergarten, so they are behind. This helps them get a little better prepared.’ Since the program started two years ago, the district’s kindergarten readiness scores have improved 12 percent.

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AS A RESULT OF DIGITAL INEQUITIES, the ways in which technology is used in the classroom varies greatly from school to school. Some teachers fully embrace digital platforms with the use of various apps and cloud-based learning software, and communicate with students through classroom portals and e-mail. Others are limited in what they can use because they must consider what students have access to at home.

Assessing the Digital Divide

There’s still a long way to go to close the digital divide in America. Almost 39 percent of U.S. students still don’t have reliable access to the Internet outside of the classroom. That said, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, the digital divide has narrowed. Those lacking an Internet connection dropped more than 18 percent, from 26.1 million at the end of 2016 to 21.3 million at the end of 2017. Most of those gains — some 4.3 million people — live in rural areas. Access to high-speed broadband, defined by the FCC as 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads, also grew in 2017 by more than 36 percent. In rural America, high-speed access increased by 85.1 percent. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in early 2019, around two-thirds of rural Americans (63 percent) say they have a broadband Internet connection at home. That’s an increase from about one third (35 percent) in 2007. But a 2018 Pew study found that nearly one in five teens couldn’t always finish their homework because of a lack of digital technology at home. The study, which surveyed 743 U.S. teens ages 13 to 17, found that 12 percent of teens — and one in five black teens — said they sometimes have to seek out public Wi-Fi to complete their schoolwork. This lack of access is especially prevalent in rural areas. Of the teens surveyed, 35 percent said they often or at least sometimes have to do their homework on their cellphone. This increased to 45 percent for teens who live in households earning less than $30,000 a year.

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According to the Center for Public Integrity, families in the poorest areas nationwide — where the median household income is below $34,800 — are almost five times more likely to not have access to high-speed Internet than the most affluent U.S. households, those with a median income above $80,700.

The Digital Divide in Georgia

For Georgia’s 1.75 million students, the digital divide, also known as the “homework gap,” remains stark. Though all Georgia schools are equipped with high-speed Internet access, the same isn’t true for students’ homes. As of 2018, the FCC estimated that about 29 percent of rural Georgians still lack access to high-speed broadband Internet at home. Conversely, only three percent of the state’s urban population lacks access. “Almost every school system in the state has a robust network and is delivering bandwidth at very high speeds,” said Chris Shealy, director of technology services for the Georgia Department of Education. “Statewide, our student-to-computer ratio is below 1-to-1. Almost every student has access to a computer and the Internet while they are at school. It’s once they leave the building that a certain population of students are being left behind.” High-speed Internet access depends a lot on where you live. In Georgia, 70 percent of all students live in just 30 percent of the school districts. The other 30 percent live in the rural areas of the state, which cover 70 percent of the districts. In many cases, rural areas only have access to DSL or satellite Internet connections Continued on page 15

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instead of the faster, more reliable cable and fiber technologies that are more often available in cities and higher-density populations. Providers simply can’t afford to wire rural areas for broadband because there are not enough houses in an area to support the overall infrastructure costs. The expense of running fiber optic cable to remote areas, coupled with the low number of potential subscribers, makes it impossible for most providers to justify the cost. “It just isn’t cost effective for providers to go to the other side of a mountain to put up an antenna,” said Shealy. “Or, in South Georgia, for example, the population is so spread out that it’s cost-prohibitive to run cables and put up towers.” There are several community networks that have tried to help fill in the gaps. Twelve publically owned networks currently offer highspeed cable and fiber service to rural homes and businesses in areas such as Elberton, Monroe, Lagrange, Cartersville, Dublin and Sandersville. “Some school districts have even been working with businesses, asking them to allow students to sit in the parking lot after hours to use their bandwidth to get online,” said Dr. Keith Osburn, the Georgia Department of Education’s associate superintendent of virtual learning. “There are also more complex relationships developing where schools and public libraries are working together to find ways to share bandwidth.” There have even been discussions in some districts of letting students take advantage of

a school’s high-speed network after hours by making Wi-Fi available in certain areas and parking lots around the building, said Osburn.

Beyond Access

‘It just isn’t cost effective for providers to go to the other side of a mountain to put up an antenna. Or, in South Georgia, for example, the population is so spread out that it’s costprohibitive to run cables and put up towers.’ — Chris Shealy, director of technology services, Georgia Department of Education.

In addition to a lack of Internet access, many students in lower income families also may not have a home computer. For some, they may only have one device at home, which can limit their ability to do homework because it must be shared. Other students rely on cell phones to do their schoolwork, which can be time consuming and frustrating, as many websites don’t display correctly on cell phones. “Students don’t just need access to high-speed broadband — they also need access to the technology,” said Osburn. “School districts are getting creative to close the gap, which is a testament to the advocacy of our teachers and district leaders to ensure with great efficacy that they are serving these students.” The challenge exists in some non-rural communities as well. In metro Atlanta’s DeKalb County, the third largest school district in Georgia, almost 30 percent of its 102,000 students did not have access to the Internet outside of school, and 35 percent did not own a home computer as of 2016. Three years ago, the district launched a $30 million technology overhaul, the Digital Dreamers Continued on page 17

‘WE SEE AFFLUENT DISTRICTS PROVIDING A MORE SEAMLESS EXPERIENCE for students in the classroom, where rural schools struggle with connections that are sometimes not as strong or they don’t have the necessary tech support in place.’ — Daniel Rivera, director of the Education Technology Center at the First District Regional Educational Service Agency

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Statewide Statistics

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October/November 2019


THE CHALLENGE EXISTS IN SOME NON-RURAL COMMUNITIES AS WELL. In metro Atlanta’s DeKalb County, the third largest school district in Georgia, almost 30 percent of its 102,000 students did not have access to the Internet outside of school, and 35 percent did not own a home computer as of 2016. Three years ago, the district launched a $30-million technology overhaul, the Digital Dreamers initiative, which aimed to address this digital inequity. To date, the program has equipped over 24,000 elementary students and over 37,000 middle and high school students with Chromebooks. Almost 8,000 Sprint hotspots have also been provided to students.

initiative, which aimed to address this digital inequity. To date, the program has equipped more than 24,000 elementary students and more than 37,000 middle and high school students with Chromebooks. Almost 8,000 Sprint hotspots have also been provided to students. In Montgomery County, which lies between Macon and Savannah, every student in kindergarten through 10th grade has access to a Chromebook or iPad and high-speed Internet while at school, but students can only check out their Chromebook and take it home under special circumstances, such as a medical emergency. There are only a handful of hotspots available. One pregnant student was allowed to check out a Chromebook and hotspot to keep up with her classes while she was out of school for six weeks. “We only have a few very large districts like DeKalb, Gwinnett and Fulton,” said Osburn. “We’re responsible for looking through the lens of equity and making sure that whatever we are offering District A is also available to District B to the extent that they need it.”

Equity through Virtual Learning

The Georgia Virtual School is a supplemental online program offered through the state’s Department of Education. It is designed to provide quality educational opportunities to October/November 2019

Georgia students when needs can’t be met locally. For example, if a student in a rural south Georgia school wants to take a Chinese language course and the school cannot justify the cost of employing a teacher for just a handful of students, that student can remain enrolled in his or her local school and take the course online. Once the student has completed the course, it becomes part of their official transcript. Students taking these online courses range from homeschoolers and AP students to child actors, student athletes, hospital-bound students and those attempting to recover a course credit after having failed a class. The program is curContinued on page 19

‘Some school districts have even been working with businesses, asking them to allow students to sit in the parking lot after hours to use their bandwidth to get online. There are also more complex relationships developing where schools and public libraries are working together to find ways to share bandwidth.’ — Dr. Keith Osburn, associate superintendent of virtual learning, Georgia Department of Education

PAGE ONE  17


Lower-income Americans have lower levels of technology adoption

National Statistics

% of U.S. adults who say they have the following ... <$30K

$30K-$99,999 $100K+ 71

Smartphone

Rural Americans have consistently lower levels of broadband adoption Home broadband

100% 80

20

‘19

’00

’19

‘00

’10

’00

‘08

’19

Note: Respondents who did not give an answer are not shown. Source: Survey conducted Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2019. PEW RESEARCH CENTER

The share of lower-income Americans who rely on their smartphone for going online has roughly doubled since 2013 % of U.S. adults who say they have smartphone, but no broadband at home, by annual household income

% of U.S. teens, by race and ethnicity or annual family income, who say they often or sometimes ...

Are unable to complete homework Use public Wi-Fi to do because lack of a reliable computer homework because no or internet connection home internet connection

17% 13 25 45

29

9

2016

2019

30% 21

20

21

10

9

24 20

35

2013

12% 11

17

39 64

‘19

Black teens and those from lower-income households are especially likely to be impacted by the digital ‘homework gap’

U.S. teens White Black Hispanic Less than $30K $30K-$74,999 $75K or more

18

All of the above

PEW RESEARCH CENTER

Often Sometimes NET 71% 35 30 39

55 70

Note: Respondents who did not give an answer are not shown. Source: Survey concucted Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2019. Trend data from other Pew Research Center surveys.

Have to do their homework on a cellphone

36

Tablet computer

34 1

‘11

81 94

80 73 69

78 73 61

58 49 49

21

1% 1% 00% ‘00

56 Home broadband

38 37

Urban

83 94

Desktop/laptop computer

Tablet 83 83 71

79% 75% 63%

Suburban

60 40

Smartphone

97 54

Desktop or laptop computer

% of U.S. adults who say they have ...

85

11 7

0

Note: Whites and Blacks include only non-Hispanics; Hispanics are of any race. Those who gave other responses or who did not give an answer are not shown. Source: Survey conducted March 7 to April 10,2018.

<$30K $30K-$99,999 $100K+

Note: Respondents who did not give an answer are not shown. Sourcw: Survey conducted Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2019. Trend data from previous Pew Research Center surveys.

PEW RESEARCH CENTER

PEW RESEARCH CENTER

One-in-four lower-income teens don’t have access to a home computer % of U.S. teens who say they do not have or have access to a desktop/laptop computer at home 25 12 U.S. teens

9

11

18

White Black Hispanic

4 Less than $30K- $75K $30K $74,999 or more

Note: Respondents who did not give an answer are not shown. Source: Survey conducted Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2019. PEW RESEARCH CENTER

11

Many school-age children live in households without high-speed internet % of U.S. households with children ages 6 to 17 who do not have a high-speed internet connection All

White

Black

Hispanic

Asian

15%

10

25

23

5

Less than $30K

35%

28

41

38

14

$30K-$74,999

17%

13

21

22

7

6%

4

9

9

2

All households with school-age children BY ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME

$75K or more

Note: Race and ethnicity are based upon the race and ethnicity of the head of household. Whites, blacks and Asians include only those who reported a single race and are only non-Hispanics. Hispanics are of any race. Household income data reported for the calendar year prior to the survey year. Source: Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 American Community Survey (IPUMS). PEW RESEARCH CENTER

18  PAGE ONE

October/November 2019


‘We’re also seeing a lot of local schools starting to form their own virtual programs. Around 13 percent of students in grades 6-12 took an online course at their local school last year. Schools are seeing virtual learning as something they need to provide, which could further crowd the virtual inequities in some of these rural areas. We need to make sure that all students have access at whatever place and pace they need it.’ — Dr. Keith Osburn, associate superintendent of virtual learning, Georgia Department of Education

rently in 87 percent of school districts statewide, but most students taking advantage of the program — slightly more than 82 percent — are from urban areas. Only 17 percent of students taking online courses are from rural areas. Though students in rural areas could benefit from the Georgia Virtual School’s robust online course catalog, the fact that they are not taking advantage of the courses at the same rate as urban students could be due, in part, to a lack of access to technology and the Internet. On the other hand, if large numbers of students in rural areas moved to virtual classes, valuable funds might be diverted, and teachers could be left with not enough students in their classes to justify their salaries. What would happen, for example, if a rural school could only afford one biology teacher for a class of 20 students and then 10 students decide to take the course online? “That’s one of the biggest questions my staff and I are trying to answer right now,” said Osburn. “We’re also seeing a lot of local schools starting to form their own virtual programs. Around 13 percent of students in grades 6-12 took an online course at their local school last year. Schools are seeing virtual learning as something they need to provide, which could further crowd the virtual inequities in some of these rural areas. We need to make sure that all students have access at whatever place and pace they need it.”

to complete,” said Kight. “If they do, they have to be available to stay after school so that students can complete it, but in rural areas, students can’t always stay because they don’t have transportation.” As a result of these digital inequities, the ways in which technology is used in the classroom varies greatly from school to school. Some teachers fully embrace digital platforms with the use of various apps and cloud-based learning software and com-

municate with students through classroom portals and e-mail. Others are limited in what they can use because they must consider what students have access to at home. The technology itself can also be a factor in what teachers can do in the classroom. Sometimes, teachers can’t access certain apps and websites in class because of the filters in place or because Continued on page 21

The True Cost of Lack of Access Though students can go to the public library or a number of restaurants that offer free Wi-Fi to complete schoolwork, download study materials or conduct online research, they are still at a disadvantage to students who have access to broadband at home. Even in districts where computers and devices are provided to students through grants, teachers in rural areas are often encouraged not to assign homework that requires Internet access because there is no guarantee that students have Internet access at home. “Out here, teachers can’t assign homework that requires the Internet October/November 2019

PAGE ONE  19


How Some Georgia School Districts are Bridging the Digital Divide Though there is no quick fix to closing the digital divide in Georgia, school districts across the state are getting creative with how to provide technology access to students. Here are what some districts are doing to help their students succeed: Richmond County School District in Augusta used a grant from Google to introduce Wi-Fi-enabled school buses in 2017. Students in rural areas with longer commutes can use the free broadband access points to study and complete their homework. In Macon, local public libraries are doing their part to close the gap, making it easy for students to access the Internet and complete their schoolwork. The libraries also offer free coding classes and reading programs, and even a low-cost printing option for homework and school projects. Students can also look up more than 250,000 books digitally. In Athens, school districts have asked local businesses to place a decal on their storefronts that advertise their free Wi-Fi connectivity, letting students know that they are a safe place to do homework. The Mitchell County School System takes its Eagle Express bus to local neighborhoods and the Boys & Girls Club to promote literacy in the community. Students can read, play interactive games and select books to take home and read. The bus features laptops, a smart board and high-speed broadband Internet.

20  PAGE October/November ONE 2019

Some rural districts in Southwest Georgia have partnered with Kajeet, a Verizon partner program, to provide hotspots that students can bring home if they don’t have Internet access. In some districts, students can also take their Chromebooks and iPads home with them — devices that have been provided by grants and SPLOST dollars. Russell Paine, an instructional technology specialist for Southwest RESA, created a website and “Tech Tool Box” for teachers with links to programs, videos, presentations and apps to help engage students in the classroom. Southwest RESA serves 15 Georgia school districts, many of them very rural. Last year, Clayton County Schools launched a $27.2-million pilot program in four schools to provide nearly 1,000 students with their own laptops. The county hopes to expand the program to include some 38,000 students in grades 3-12 by 2022. In late 2017, Fulton County Schools handed out 67,500 devices to 6th through 12th graders as part of a $60-million project funded by a Special Local Option Sales Tax.

October/November PAGE2019 ONE  20


The Homework Gap ‘OUT HERE, TEACHERS CAN’T ASSIGN HOMEWORK THAT REQUIRES THE INTERNET TO COMPLETE. If they do, they have to be available to stay after school so that students can complete it, but in rural areas, students can’t always stay because they don’t have transportation.’ — Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Hugh Kight ‘ALMOST EVERY SCHOOL SYSTEM IN THE STATE HAS A ROBUST NETWORK AND IS DELIVERING BANDWIDTH AT VERY HIGH SPEEDS. Statewide, our student-to-computer ratio is below 1-to-1. Almost every student has access to a computer and the

of slow wireless connections. Other times, they have access to the technology, but haven’t been trained on how to use it. “We see affluent districts providing a more seamless experience for students in the classroom, where rural schools struggle with connections that are sometimes not as strong or they don’t have the necessary tech support in place,” said Daniel Rivera, director of the Education Technology Center at the First District Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), which provides technical services and support to multiple rural school districts in southeast Georgia. “That’s the divide. Not access to technology, but not being able to afford the proper management of the technology and the training on how to use it,” said Rivera. “I’ve been to schools where they have the IT, but it might not work or is collecting dust because they don’t have the training and support for when things break.” A lack of Internet access and computer savvy can also put students at a disadvantage when it comes to life after high school. Not only is Internet access required for classwork and homework, but it’s also critical for standardized test preparation and navigating the college application process. When students from rural areas graduate, many are less technologically literate than their urban counterparts and may not be

October/November 2019

Internet while they are at school. It’s once they leave the building that a certain population of students are being left behind.’ — Chris Shealy, director of technology services for the Georgia Department of Education

as familiar with the current technologies — many of which are used on college and technical school campuses.

What’s Being Done to Close the Divide

The lack of reliable high-speed Internet access in rural areas extends beyond the classroom. It isn’t just about education; it’s about economics. A lack of broadband access can affect a community’s ability to attract businesses and jobs. And if communities can’t grow economically, the population of these rural areas will continue to decline. In May, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs revealed a broadband plan to provide Internet to 1.6 million Georgia residents. The plan includes allocating to Internet providers part of a $600-million federal package designated to fund broadband construction. It also calls for the state to create a map of every location in Georgia that lacks access to high-speed broadband by next year. There are at least five rural projects pursuing federal grant funding. Applicants who win would receive as much as $25 million. Last year, former Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed the Achieving Connectivity Everywhere (ACE) Act (SB 402) into law with the goal of bringing high-speed Internet service to more rural Georgia areas. SB 402 will determine the areas of biggest need in Continued on next page

PAGE ONE  21


A LACK OF INTERNET ACCESS and computer savvy also puts students at a disadvantage when it comes to life after high school. Not only is Internet access required for classwork and homework, but it’s also critical for standardized test preparation and navigating the college application process.

the state, prioritize government funding, provide subsidies to providers to expand their networks, and enable the Georgia Department of Education (GDOT) to deploy broadband in interstate rights of way by making them available for fiber optic cable installation. Access can then be sold to private companies to provide broadband to rural Georgia customers. AT&T plans to provide fixed wire-

less services to 67,000 rural homes in Georgia by 2020. Comcast is also expanding its affordable high-speed Internet service to rural areas in Dawson and Jackson counties. In Haralson County, Calhoun-based iWispr provides wireless access to customers in remote areas. Almost 65 percent of Haralson County — some 20,000 people — doesn’t have access to broadband. The

county used Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) dollars to partner with iWispr to make improvements in infrastructure, and service is expected to be offered to more than 90 percent of the county later this year. In December, the city of Chattahoochee Hills also introduced an ordinance to make it easier for companies to install small cell towers or 5G wireless.

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22  PAGE ONE

October/November 2019


Federal programs include the Lifeline Program, which subsidizes cell phone costs for lowincome customers and includes fixed Internet service. Subscribers must have an income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in certain assistance programs. Even non-profits have gotten on board. EveryoneOn has a goal to connect at least one million low-income people to free and affordable Internet and digital literacy training by 2020. The national organization does this through partnering with Internet service providers to create low-cost options. EveryoneOn’s flagship program for K-12 students — Connect2Compete (C2C) — is available to students across a 30-county area of south and southwest Georgia. Allowing conduit and fiber to be installed in public rights of way, offering incentives to providers to extend their infrastructure, and giving EMCs the ability to provide broadband services to their electric customers are all

Allowing conduit and fiber to be installed in public rights of way, offering incentives to providers to extend their infrastructure, and giving EMCs the ability to provide broadband services to their electric customers are all steps in the right direction.

steps in the right direction, but there is no silver bullet to ending the digital inequities in Georgia. Any viable, long-term solution will be multifaceted and will take time. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. “It is getting better,” said Shealy, who has worked in technology services for the Georgia DOE since 1996. “Reaching the kids in the most rural areas of the state — that’s what we have to overcome. In Georgia, we’re one of those states with everything from extreme mountains to extreme rural flatland, but the map that shows the disparities does continue to get smaller.” n

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Professional Learning

For Unless They See the Sky, but They Can’t and That Is Why … Students know when they’re behind, and unless they feel a strong connection, they disengage little by little By Angela Garrett, PAGE Professional Learning

L

istening to the lyrics of an Elton John song helped make a connection to our Georgia teachers and how they strive each day to improve, learn and inspire their students. Many low-progress students feel defeated and alone, and often think that they will never be on grade level. Even the youngest students know that they are not in the Bluebird reading group, even if you don’t divide groups in that manner anymore. Kids know when they are behind, and lit-

tle by little, they really can’t “see the sky.” A PAGE Engage Academy cohort met recently to explore better ways to offer improved lessons through design based on motives students bring to school. The educators were first asked about how they themselves learned. Do they like affiliation with others or working alone? Do they need to know every detail or just a few? Do they need affirmation and support, or are they good on their own? These are just a few qualities to consider when thinking of designing more engaging lessons for students. The teachers and Although he craved connection, administrators learned pretty the once-shy boy told us that he quickly that when they themselves do not receive lessons was unknown to his teachers in their preferred manner of learning, it’s easy to disengage in middle and high school. and become compliant, and His time at Georgia Gwinnett thus miss out on opportunities for true learning. College changed all that as he Students are no different. began to make connections Students come to school with the best they have to with teachers and others. offer. Granted, this may not He transformed from a quiet mean that they are on grade level, enjoy school, or for individual who felt unworthy to little ones, have any idea what a confident young man leading school is about. It may also mean that they are bright the student body of a college! and are far ahead of their peers. This is true at any level: elementary, middle or high. Many parents have no

idea how their child measures up to others, but they do expect success. Teachers begin each year with a mixed bag of learners and parent expectations. A Young Man’s Transformation Whether ahead or behind, students bring a desire and ability to learn and a need for affirmation from, and a connection to, the teacher. A few years ago, a young man who was the student body president at Georgia Gwinnett College, spoke to our PAGE principal cohort. None of us will ever forget what he said. He was, in his words, a very shy boy who was unknown to his teachers in middle and high school. He stated that he wanted a teacher connection, but it never happened. His time at Georgia Gwinnett had been nothing short of phenomenal as he began to make connections with teachers and others. He transformed from a quiet individual who felt unworthy to a confident young man leading the student body of a college! We left that day with a deep appreciation that every student needs a champion. When learning motives are met and a connection made, profound learning can take place. It’s not the type of learning one crams for before a test and then forgets a few weeks later; it’s the type of learning that happens due to interest in the subject matter and how it was presented. Engage Academy stresses that in addition to knowing what motives your students

‘Thank the Lord there’s people out there like you. … For unless they see the sky, but they can’t and that is why, 24  PAGE ONE

October/November 2019


In Dublin, at the Heart of Georgia cohort, we heard, ‘I want them to learn, not just pass tests.’ ‘I want to be more engaging and a better closer with my lessons.’ ‘I want to scale back lecturestyle and be more of a facilitator.’ A fourth teacher stated, ‘Affirmation is my love language!

bring to school, getting to know them and their background and making a connection with them, is another way to ensure that they can be successful. Profound knowledge lasts a lifetime. The educators in our most recent academy sessions understood this. The excitement during the sessions and conversation afterward reflected their desire to make a difference for their students. In the Tifton cohort, Bonnie stated, “I’m so excited to learn this!” William stated, “My hope is to make my classes more engaging and fun.” An elementary principal responded that she was there to learn so that she could better support her teachers in the work of offering engaging lessons to students. In Dublin, at the Heart of Georgia cohort, we heard, “I want them to learn, not just pass tests.” “I want to be more engaging and a better closer with my lessons.” Christy said, “I want to scale back lecture-style and be more of a facilitator.” Another teacher stated, “Affirmation is my love language!” It’s No Longer About Stand and Deliver What makes students feel at ease, more welcome and more connected when they enter our classrooms? Our Georgia students of poverty, and others

who live in toxic family environments, have a myriad of things on their mind besides school. Teachers give these students a respite from home and stress, and provide words of encouragement and caring that they might seldom hear. How exciting it is for these students to enjoy their classroom and school and feel connected to someone every single day! They may go home each day to the same unpleasant situation, but they will look forward to the next day at school. Rita Pierson, a former teacher, said it best when she revealed her strategies with relationships. “One of the things we rarely discuss is human connection — relationships.” During her Ted Talk, she discussed her mother’s and her own success making real connections with students. She quoted Yale professor of child psychiatry,

Dr. James Comer, who said “No significant learning happens without a significant relationship.” Pierson goes on to say that the power of human connection makes the difference in kids who want to learn and do well and those who give up. PAGE believes that our focus as educators should always be on the students. The children and young people who go to our public schools need more than lectures and knowledge transmission. No longer is it about stand and deliver — the theory that students get it or they don’t. All students need connection. All students bring motives for learning. Teachers are the key to discerning the unique combination needed to reach each student. It is a tough task and not for the faint of heart. Elton John’s song parallels what teachers strive to do every single day. “Thank the Lord there’s people out there like you. … For unless they see the sky, but they can’t and that is why, they know not if it’s dark outside or light.” Teachers inspire, nurture and guide students in learning and finding success. In doing so, students can finally see the sky and realize their own limitless possibilities.n To learn more about PAGE Professional Learning, please contact Angela Garrett, agarrett@pageinc.org, 706-459-0302.

they know not if it’s dark outside or light.’ ­— Excerpt of Elton John song ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’ written by Bernie Taupin

October/November 2019

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Legal

Students, Free Speech and Public Schools By Leonard D. Williams, PAGE Staff Attorney

“C

ongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” ~ First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution For nearly a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that students do not lose their constitutional rights to free speech in the public school setting. However, those rights are not absolute; they are balanced against the duty of public school

A school system may discipline a student for his or her speech only if it reasonably concludes that it would materially and substantially interfere with school operations or violate the rights of others. A desire to avoid controversy, inconvenience or annoyance is not enough to overcome a student’s right to freedom of expression. A showing of the likelihood of dangerous or illegal activity may be necessary.

26  PAGE ONE

officials to maintain order at their schools. While it can be challenging to determine what kinds of speech are permissible, there is guidance that may assist. Much of what we know about the regulation of students’ speech arises from a couple of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a case that involved students who wore black armbands to school to protest the war in Vietnam, the Court ruled that a school may restrict speech only if it reasonably believes it “would substantially interfere with the work of the school or impinge upon the rights of other students.” In Morse v. Frederick, a case in which a student, along with others, stood across the street from his school and unfurled a banner that read “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS” at a school-sanctioned and school-supervised event, the Court found that school officials may prohibit student speech when it can be reasonably construed as promoting illegal activities. The rule is that a school system may discipline a student for his or her speech only if it reasonably concludes that it would materially and substantially interfere with school operations or violate the rights of others. The phrase “materially and substantially” is significant. A desire to avoid controversy, inconvenience or annoyance is not enough to overcome a student’s right to freedom of expression. A

showing of the likelihood of dangerous or illegal activity may be necessary. Avoid Rash Decisions When confronted with a student’s speech issue, a public school administrator should not make any rash decisions. The first thing she should do is consult the superintendent and board attorney. Counsel should be involved as early in the process as possible. If a determination is made that the student’s speech is not protected by the First Amendment (e.g. threats of violence against students or staff), the official may discipline the student in accordance with the district’s student code of conduct. If the student’s speech is covered by the First Amendment, or if it is unclear whether it is protected speech, there are other alternatives that may be available to resolve the matter. For example, the administrator could ask (not direct) the student to refrain from the activity. The student may agree to or deny this request. If that does not work, the school official could try to reason with the parent or legal guardian and ask her to direct the student to refrain from the activity. Similarly, the parent or legal guardian may agree to or deny the request. The district could also bargain with the student. If the student wants something, within reason, in exchange for voluntarily refraining from the speech, the district could explore resolving the issue that way. Individuals who are the targets of or adversely affected by the speech may also have civil or criminal remedies available to them. For questions about this or any other legal issue, please contact the PAGE n Legal Department.

October/November 2019


PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon Fall Workshop Kicks off 2019-2020 Season By Michelle Crawford, PAGE GAD State Director

T

he 150-plus students and coaches who attended the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon Fall Workshop on Aug. 30 immersed themselves in this year’s curriculum topic “In Sickness and in Health: An Exploration of Illness and Wellness.” This theme gave students a close look at the history of healthcare, the biology of cancer and Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein,” among other related topics. Sponsored by PAGE and Kennesaw State University, the daylong workshop was held 1 at the KSU Center. General and breakout sessions covered topics such as science, literature, speech, interview, art, music, essay and economics. The sessions were led by KSU faculty and GAD coordinators. Decathletes and coaches from around the state enjoy participating in the annual season kickoff event because they feel it gives them a leg-up on their competition. The 2019 State Champion team from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School made sure to attend because they have their sights set on winning for the 10th time and traveling to Anchorage, Alaska, for USAD Nationals at the end of April. Parkview High School is also a regular at the annual Fall Workshop, and one of their decathletes, Jessica Pan, told us, “The KSU fall workshop is an awesome way to kick off the year for the team. It gets members excited about the material,

and it’s a great way to build camaraderie! After KSU every year, our team members are closer to each other and much more excited to work hard in Academic Decathlon.” Schools who attend the fall workshop on a regular basis are more likely to make it to the state competition in February. This year’s PAGE GAD State Competition will be held on Feb. 28 and 29 at Parkview High in Gwinnett County. We need more than 200 people to volunteer as Speech and Interview judges, and Testing and Super Quiz proctors. Academic Decathlon alumni are also invited to participate. It’s a great way to stay connected. We encourage anyone who is interested in volunteering for the State competition to visit our website at n pageinc.org/gad to sign up!

2

‘The KSU fall workshop is an awesome way to kick off the year for the team. It gets members excited about the material, and it’s a great way to build camaraderie! After KSU every year, our team members are closer to each other and much more excited to work hard in Academic Decathlon.’ ­— Parkview High School Decathlete Jessica Pan 3 28  PAGE ONE

October/November 2019


4

5 1  More than 150 decathletes and coaches attended the 2019 PAGE GAD Fall Workshop.

6

2  Decathletes are on the clock as they find partners from different schools during the Interview session. 3  KSU senior lecturer of economics & finance, Michael Patrono, explains the economics of healthcare during his breakout session. 4  After meeting someone for the first time, decathletes practice their interview skills. 5  Longtime Fall Workshop presenter and KSU professor of English, Dr. William Rice, returned to lead a session entitled ‘Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Fiction and Science.’ 6  The 2020 PAGE GAD State Champion and Divison IV representative will compete at USAD Nationals in Anchorage, Alaska, April 30-May 2. 7  Decathletes from many schools, including Muscogee’s Kendrick High School, enjoy meeting new people and learning about this year’s topic from Kennesaw State University professors.

7 October/November 2019

PAGE ONE  29


2019 PAGE Foundation Scholarship Recipients

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he PAGE Foundation awarded 16 scholarships to professional, support personnel and teacher candidate PAGE members this year and two scholarships to high school students who plan to major in education. “Nurturing new and experienced educators so that Georgia students benefit

from their enhanced learning is a primary focus of PAGE,” said Craig Harper, PAGE executive director. “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 or $500 each. Recipients competed through an application process, and a panel of judges determined the winners. Eligibility requirements and application information for the 2020 process will be available before the end of fall semester at PAGEFoundation.org/ scholarships.

2019 PAGE Foundation Scholarships PAGE Jack Christmas Scholarship Amy Denty •  Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Learning, Wayne County Schools •  Attending Valdosta State University •  Pursuing Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading Endorsement PAGE Charles “Coach” Cooper Scholarship Lisa Michelle Beck •  Science Teacher, Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School, Catoosa County Schools •  Attending Kennesaw State University •  Pursuing Ed.S./Ed.D. in Science Education/Chemistry PAGE DeKalb Scholarship Jamie Nicole Clark •  3rd Grade Teacher, Shadow Rock Elementary School, DeKalb County Schools •  Attending Kennesaw State University •  Pursuing M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education PAGE Professional Scholarships Lt Col Kurt Duane Barry •  Air Force JROTC Sr. Aerospace Science Instructor, TW Josey High School, Richmond County Schools •  Attending Liberty University •  Pursuing Ph.D. in Education and Leadership 30  PAGE ONE

Nora Kay Eakin

Erica Adela Warren

• Mathematics Teacher, Lowndes County High School, Lowndes County Schools • Attending Valdosta State University • Pursuing Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

• Personalized Learning Lead, Woodland Middle School, Henry County Schools • Attending Mercer University – Tift College • Pursuing Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

Rachael Lynn Grillo

PAGE Dr. Allene Magill Support Personnel Scholarship Ashley Taylor Beil

• Science Teacher, Stockbridge High School, Henry County Schools • Attending Kennesaw State University • Pursuing Ed.D. in Secondary Chemistry Tasha Renee Hamil • Title I Instructional Technology Coach, Riverview Elementary School, Dawson County Schools • Attending University of North Georgia • Pursuing Add-on Certification in Leadership Tier 1 Caitlin Elizabeth Nash • 3rd Grade Inclusion Teacher, Murdock Elementary School, Cobb County Schools • Attending Kennesaw State University • Pursuing M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education, Teacher Leadership Endorsement

• Title I Paraprofessional, White Oak Elementary School, Coweta County Schools • Attending University of West Georgia • Elementary Education/Special Education Major PAGE Support Personnel Scholarship Rachel Elizabeth Moss • Paraprofessional, Little River Elementary School, Cherokee County Schools • Attending University of West Georgia • Pursuing M.A.T. in Special Education PAGE S. Marvin Griffin Scholarships Stephanie C. Fairchild • Attending Georgia Gwinnett College • Elementary Education Major

October/November 2019


Laura Kate Wright • Attending University of North Georgia • Early Childhood Education Major PAGE Undergraduate Scholarship Maggie Paige Johnson • Attending Georgia Southwestern State University • Elementary Education Major PAGE John Robert & Barbara Moore Lindsey Scholarship Keri Jordan Carter • Attending Georgia Southern University • Elementary Education Major PAGE Betty J. Phillips Scholarship Jessica Katherine Lewis • Attending Mercer University, Macon • Early Childhood and Special Education Major 2019 PAGE FUTURE EDUCATOR SCHOLARSHIPS PAGE Dr. Alton Crews Future Georgia Educators Scholarship Macy Angel Greene

O V E R 1 0 MA J O R S T U D I O S . MO R E T H A N 5 0 P R O D UC T I O N S . 1 0 0 S O F F I L M O B J EC T S . 1 E X T R A O R D I NA R Y E X H I B I T .

• Attending University of North Georgia

PAGE Marcia T. Clanton Future Educator Scholarship Regan A. Gayadeen • Attending Georgia Southern University

MAY 3 – D E C E MB E R 3 1 , 2 0 1 9

4 4 1 J O H N L E W I S F R E E D OM P K W Y NE A T L A N T A, G A 3 0 3 0 7

October/November 2019

PAGE ONE  31


State Competitions: Volunteers Needed

PAGE sponsors academic competitions for Georgia’s students, but these important state tournaments can’t happen without dedicated volunteers. The PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades needs volunteers for the state championship in Milledgeville at Georgia College on Jan. 25. Please visit www.pageinc.org/abvolunteer for more information or to sign up. The PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon state competition at Parkview High School in Gwinnett County needs Speech and Interview judges on Feb. 28 and Testing and Super Quiz proctors on Feb. 29. Please visit www.pageinc.org/gad-volunteer-information to learn more and volunteer.

OFFICERS President: Nick Zomer President-Elect: Lindsey Martin Treasurer Lamar Scott Past President: Dr. Hayward Cordy Secretary Megan King DIRECTORS District 1 District 8 Dr. Oatanisha Dawson TBD District 2 District 9 Brecca Pope Jennie Persinger District 3 District 10 TBD Khrista Henry District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand TBD District 5 District 12 Dr. Shannon Watkins TaKera Harris District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Daerzio Harris District 7 Lance James DIRECTORS REPRESENTING RETIRED MEMBERS Vickie Hammond Dr. Sheryl Holmes

32  PAGE ONE

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: 15236188. Date of filing: September 16, 2019. 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, 79,842. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter: 0. Mail subscriptions, 78,722. Total paid circulation, 78,722. Free distribution (by mail carrier or other means, including samples) 1,060. Total distribution, 79,782. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 60. Percent paid and/or requested circulation: 98.7%. Average circulation for each issue in preceding 12 months. Total copies printed, 79,514. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter, 0. Mail subscriptions, 78,384. Total paid circulation, 78,384. Free distribution (by mail, carrier or other means, including samples) 1,076. Total distribution, 79,460. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 54. Percent paid and/or requested circulation: 98.7%.

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 2019-20 dues is allocated to lobbying. PAGE One (ISSN 1523-6188) is mailed to all PAGE members, selected higher education units and other school-related professionals. An annual subscription is included in PAGE membership dues. A subscription for others is $10 annually. Periodicals class nonprofit postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. (USPS 017-347) Postmaster: Send address changes to PAGE One, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141–2270. PAGE One is published five times a year (January, March, May, August and October) by New South Publishing Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30350; 770-650-1102. Copyright ©2019 .

October/November 2019


’ Don t Miss Out Don’t miss out on our Spring 2020 conferences. JANUARY 31, 2020

Interdisciplinary STEM Teaching & Learning Conference

GeorgiaSouthern.edu/ce/conferences/stemconference/ FEBRUARY 7-8, 2020

National Cross-Cultural Counseling and Education Conference for Research, Action, and Change GeorgiaSouthern.edu/ce/conferences/nccec/ FEBRUARY 28-29, 2020

International Critical Media Literacy Conference (ICMLC)

GeorgiaSouthern.edu/ce/conferences/criticalmedia/ MARCH 8-11, 2020

National Youth At Risk Conference

At the COLLEGE OF EDUCATION at Georgia Southern University, we provide opportunities for current professional educators to gain the experience and knowledge that will allow them to EDUCATE, INNOVATE and LEAD. Our conference schedule for Spring 2020 offers professionals from various disciplines the opportunity to share and engage in the latest research and practices with colleagues from across the state and nation. These conferences represent some of the strongest and longest-running conferences in the southeast. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance to capture the early bird discount rates! In addition to continual support and development of our alumni and educators in the region, the College of Education offers over 40 high-quality, innovative master’s, education specialist and doctoral degrees as well as graduate endorsement and certificate programs.

GeorgiaSouthern.edu/ce/conferences/nationalyouthatrisk/ JUNE 8-10, 2020

Southeast Conference on Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS)

GeorgiaSouthern.edu/ce/conferences/sepbis/

GeorgiaSouthern.edu/COE


WE MAKE GREAT TEACHERS.

You make a difference. Mercer University has been teaching Georgia’s teachers and educational leaders for more than 100 years. Our education programs prepare aspiring teachers for the classroom, enhance skillsets of current educators, and equip those in education to lead beyond the classroom as real-life difference makers.

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP. 800.762.5404 mercereducation@mercer.edu

education.mercer.edu DEGREES AND PROGRAMS INITIAL CERTIFICATION • Early Learning and Development, B.S.Ed.* • Elementary/Special Education, B.S.Ed. • Elementary/Special Education (Non-Degree) • Elementary Education, M.A.T. • Elementary Education (Non-Degree) • 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. ↗ • Coaching Endorsement • Elementary Education, Ed.S. • Elementary 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 College of Professional Advancement. 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).

M E T R O

A T L A N T A

M A C O N

O N L I N E

Profile for PAGE One Magazine

PAGE One Magazine Oct.-Nov. 2019  

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

PAGE One Magazine Oct.-Nov. 2019  

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