DOE SealGeorgia's Race to the Top

"Making Education Work for All Georgians"

Issue: # 6

December 2011 

Dear     ,

Welcome to the Race to the Top (RT3) E Newsletter.  In this newsletter, we highlight the latest developments regarding Georgia's RT3 efforts.  Please feel free to forward this issue to others and encourage them to subscribe.  

If you have questions about Georgia's Race to the Top efforts, then please don't hesitate to contact us.
Jon Rogers
Race to the Top - Director of Communications
Department of Education
404-463-1522 (Office)

Race to the Top Launches Official Website

Georgia Department of Education is launching its official Race to the Top website.  The website will highlight a number of the education reform initiatives the State of Georgia is working on with the funds received through the national Race to the Top Fund grant competition.
Race to the Top Website
Click for Official Website

The website will allow you to read about some of the latest progress within Georgia's Race to the Top program highlighting initiatives such as the new pilot Teacher Keys Evaluation System, the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, and the Innovation Fund. 


Please visit the website @ or and add it to your Favorites.




Click on the picture below and "Like" us on Facebook.

Georgia RT3 Facebook Page

Georgia's Race to the Top

Facebook Page

Teacher Keys Evaluation System Pilot is Underway

by Martha Ann Todd

Donald Davis, nationally renowned storyteller, speaks often of a magical year in fourth grade with Miss Daisy as his teacher.  During that year, Miss Daisy's forty-second, Donald and his classmates took a trip around the world - without ever leaving the classroom.  Miss Daisy completely captivated a heterogeneous, inclusive group of fourth graders and challenged them to grow and learn beyond all expectations using an integrated curriculum. Cooperative teams, and differentiated learning that was planned based on analysis of student assessment.  She engaged her students' imaginations and expected them to effectively analyze problems, to apply learning to real life situations, and to generate multiple solutions.  Miss Daisy, in a past era and without knowledge of any of our current educational vocabulary, created a positive, academically challenging learning environment that must have puzzled her colleagues and was most likely a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for her students.  While we would not want to adopt all of Miss Daisy' methods as related in the story, and certainly we could add quite a few strategies and techniques to her repertoire today, the spirit of exploration and excitement of learning that Donald Davis took away from fourth grade is one that we would like every student in Georgia to experience.

 Teacher Keys Evaluation System

As we work together to develop, pilot, and implement the new teacher evaluation system, there are quite a few lessons from Miss Daisy that we might be well served to keep in mind.  The TKES performance standards capture and expand upon the technical aspects and spirit of Miss Daisy's work with Donald Davis's class years ago.  One of our challenges is to breathe life into Georgia's new evaluation system so that it becomes an opportunity and vehicle to provide the professional learning and growth opportunities needed to support Georgia teachers in becoming the most effective teachers possible, while at the same time providing the required once-a-year measure of teacher effectiveness.  Our teachers and our students should be excited about and engaged in their own learning opportunities, just as Donald Davis and his classmates were.

Within the Great Teachers & Leaders section of RT3, Georgia committed to the development and implementation of a teacher evaluation system that would improve the overall conditions of teaching and learning, and that would improve the quality of current classroom teachers.  Over the past several months, the GaDOE the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Division has worked with the RT3 districts to prepare for the January-May 2012 pilot of the Teacher Keys Evaluation System and take a giant step toward fulfilling the RT3 commitment.  As the work has progressed, the collaborative teams have successfully met several aggressive deadlines, have successfully cleared some major hurdles, have identified a few new challenges, and - most of all - have generated an excitement for the work that is about to begin with the pilot!

The partnership between GaDOE and the twenty-six RT3 districts has made possible many accomplishments this fall.  Some of the milestones we have met together are listed below.

  • Teacher Keys Evaluation System handbooks for the 2012 pilot have been completed, printed, and delivered to the RT3 districts.
  • Evaluator training on TKES has been conducted with over 1,800 principals and district leaders.
  • Many supporting materials, including PowerPoints and scripts, to support TKES orientation, familiarization, and implementation during the pilot have been developed and made available to the RT3 districts.
  • Student learning objectives have been developed, supported by multiple training and work sessions, and submitted for GaDOE review and approval in preparation for the January-May 2012 pilot.

Presentations have been made to multiple audiences of stakeholders and media representatives to communicate the great work the partnering RT3 districts have begun.


Martha Ann Todd serves as the Director for the Division of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness at the Georgia Department of Education.

Savannah-Chatham's Twilight High School Program

Savannah-Chatham County Public SchoolsSchool districts will often find students, who are a grade level or two behind in middle school or high school. Many times, these students drop out due or are at risk of dropping out due to their lagging progress.  In the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS), they are providing a solution for these students, as well as students who wish to speed up their education process.


The new Twilight High School Program (funded by the Race to the Top grant) allows students to obtain both credit recovery and credit advancement benefits for students through blended and teacher facilitated learning.  Race to the Top funds are being used to compensate the teaching staff and provide instructional materials, computerized coursework, and rapid response assessment

tools/diagnostics for the students.


Q: How can the SCCPSS Twilight High School Program benefit students?


A: The SCCPSS Twilight High School Program provides access to online coursework 24-hours a day/7 days per week. Courses are aligned to the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) and the Georgia High School Graduation test (GHSGT) and are taught by some of the district's best teachers. Benefits to students include course acceleration and recovery credit opportunities, improved technology skills, solutions for scheduling conflict, and supplemental learning activities for medical home-bound students.


For More Information about the Twilight High School program please read the program's brochure and FAQs.

Teacher and Leader Induction Guidelines

APS Mentoring Training
Georgia's vision as set forth in the RT3 application is "To equip all Georgia students, through effective teachers and leaders and through creating the right conditions in Georgia's schools and classrooms, with the knowledge and skills to empower them to: graduate from high school, be successful in college and/or professional careers, and be competitive with their peers throughout the United States and the world."


At the heart of the RT3 plan is increasing the overall effectiveness of teachers and leaders. Their effectiveness is a critical factor in increasing student growth and raising student achievement.  Draft induction guidelines for new teachers and new principals were developed by a cross-disciplinary induction task force as a component of Georgia's Race to the Top initiative through a partnership with GaDOE and the Professional Standards Commission. 


The establishment of teacher and principal induction guidelines has provided a basic framework and flexibility. This allows districts to develop differentiated induction programs tailored to specific district needs to support the continuous professional growth of induction phase teachers and principals.


The draft guidelines are posted online for Public Comment until December 30, 2011 @


Please help us gather feedback through your responses:

Principal Induction Guidelines


Teacher Induction Guidelines


Teachers on the importance of Induction/Mentoring Process:

"I have to say that my mentor is one of the reasons I am still here at Crim today. Who would have ever thought that Crim would have been the perfect place for a small Asian engineer to grow, thrive and succeed! Now, at the end of year three, I have been selected as the Crim Open Campus Teacher of the Year."
Adam Kbo - Third year teacher


"My mentor taught me one of the greatest lessons in life which was to trust. Her unwavering efforts and sincerity helped me to open up and communicate what I struggled with to become an effective teacher. I needed feedback, reflection, and an opportunity to become an effective educator. My mentor provided those teachable moments for me."

Latrecia Browns - Second year teacher


"Having a mentor has afforded me the opportunity to envision the teacher that I desire to become....My mentor has allowed me to find my own sense of self-assurance that is so necessary for teachers to possess and inspire in the minds of their students."

Yvette Manns - First year teacher

In This Issue
Teacher Keys Evaluation
Twilight High School
Teacher Induction Guidelines
In the News


Race to the Top: Georgia

Richmond County Teachers Train for New Set of Standards

Middle Georgia Districts Putting Funds to Work

Teacher surveys for Race To The Top begin in Rockdale schools

Gainesville City Schools Discuss Changes in Learning

Georgia applies for Race to the Top's Early Learning Challenge

Georgia starting rating system for day cares

Cherokee Academies initiative is a go