DOE SealGeorgia's Race to the Top

"Making Education Work for All Georgians"

Issue: # 2

April - May 2011 

Dear      ,

Welcome, this is 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)

Georgia Launches Competition for Innovation Fund Grants

Nathan DealIn early April, Governor Nathan Deal announced the launch of Georgia's Innovation Fund, a $19.4 million competitive grant program created through Georgia's Race to the Top (RT3) efforts.


Through the Innovation Fund, the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget will award grants to partnerships between local education authorities or charter schools, institutions of higher education, businesses and nonprofit organizations that develop or implement innovative and high-impact programs aimed at producing positive outcomes for students. 

The Innovation Fund's competitive grants will focus on proposals that creatively leverage members' financial, human and intellectual resources to address one or more of the following four priorities:


  • Raising student achievement through the development and delivery of applied learning opportunities and experiences directly tied to a subject matter, especially in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  • Raising teacher effectiveness through support for innovative induction programs to bridge the gap between pre-service and career teaching, focusing on providing structured and intensive support to new teachers and leaders.
  • Increasing the pipeline of effective educators by developing local capacity through Grow Your Own Teacher programs in rural regions to increase the workforce, especially in high-need subject areas.
  • Developing or expanding charter schools that are focused on STEM education to improve the level of STEM instruction in the state and direct students toward in-demand, high-tech careers. 

More Information about the Innovation Fund HERE


State Board Approves RT3 Projects

On April 13th, Georgia's State Board of Education (SBOE) approved eight contracts involving implementation of Race to the Top (RT3).  These partnerships will allow RT3 to address a number of the key priorities: 

  • Teach for America and The New Teacher Project will help with increasing the number of effective teachers in high-need schools and hard-to-staff subject areas. Teach for America will focus on some of Metro Atlanta RT3 partner districts.  While, The New Teacher Project will focus on the more rural RT3 partner systems. The State Board approved Teach for America efforts within Atlanta Public Schools, DeKalb County, and Gwinnett County School systems, as well as, the New Teacher Project efforts in Burke, Chatham, Dougherty, Meriwether, Muscogee, and Richmond school districts.  
  • The College Board will handle the administration, scoring, and reporting services for the October 2011 PSAT for all tenth grade students in Georgia public high schools. 
  • On behalf of the Charles A Dana Center, the University of Texas at Austin will provide training and materials in the content and pedagogy for use in the Fourth Mathematics Course Option entitled Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) Advanced Mathematical Decision Making (AMDM) for a 140 member statewide mathematics educator cadre. 
  • Seventeen local educational agencies (LEA), which represent the districts containing the "lowest achieving schools" targeted for turnaround within RT3, were approved for participation in the 2011 Summer Leadership Academies.
  • Communities In Schools of Georgia (CISGA) received approval for funds to start-up three Performance Learning in each of the following school systems: Carrollton City, Richmond County, and Floyd County Schools.

Improving CLASS and Leader Keys

Over the past few years, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has provided training for the current CLASS and Leader Keys.  CLASS and Leader Keys are rubric-based evaluation tools, which are used for teacher and leader evaluations.  With the support of the Race to the Top (RT3) funding, these instruments are being revised to provide tools that are reliable, effective, and will streamline the process.  Also, it will help with development of the teacher and leader effectiveness measures within RT3.    

The State of Georgia is partnering with consultants such as McREL, University of West Georgia, and Dr. James H. Stronge (Heritage Professor in the Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership Area - College of William and Mary) to assist  in the refining of the CLASS and Leader Keys.    

Race to the Top - Georgia is committed to producing one evaluation instrument, which can be used as a helpful tool for every district within the state of Georgia.  During the 2011-2012 school year, RT3 partner districts will be able to pilot the revised evaluation system.  This approach will allow an even greater level of refinement prior to using it throughout the state. 

Projected timeline for revising and implementing new CLASS and Leader Keys:

Fall 2011: Training provided for the twenty-six RT3 districts related to the revised CLASS and Leader Keys.

January - May 2012: RT3 districts will pilot the revised CLASS and Leader Keys.

End of 2011-12 School Year: Reliability and validity study will be completed related to the revised version of CLASS and Leader Keys. 

2012-13 School Year: Revised validated evaluation system will be used by the twenty-six RT3 districts, as well as, offered to all districts for school year 2012 - 2013.

State Longitudinal Data System Director

One of Race to the Top's main priorities is to build a data system that measures student growth and success and informs teachers and leaders about how they can improve instruction.  RT3 funds will be used to design, develop and implement a P-20 data system to electronically link educational information across all state education agencies.


The Governor's Office of Student Achievement and other State Education Agency partners hired Kriste Elia as the P-20 Longitudinal Data System Director.  Kriste brings with her a wealth of relevant experience, having led and managed multi-million dollar technology projects at the Georgia Technology Authorigy, GeoFields, and Parsons Engineering Science.  Elia earned a PhD from Georgia Tech in Geographic Information Systems.  


In This Issue
Innovation Fund Grants
State Board Approves RT3 Efforts
CLASS and Leader Keys
State Data System Director

Education Week

Race to the Top: Competition Within a Competition

Georgia, which walked away a $400 million winner in the federal competition and is using a slice of its award to create its own mini-competition....

Full Story HERE

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