DOE SealGeorgia's Race to the Top

"Making Education Work for All Georgians"

Issue: # 7

January 2012 

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)

Official Website:

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Governor Deal Announces 2nd Round Winners of Innovation Grants

Nathan DealAwards promote innovation in STEM education, charter schools and teacher development


Gov. Nathan Deal announced 11 winners of Innovation Fund grants, a $19.4 million competitive grant program created through Georgia's Race to the Top (RT3) plan. Through the Innovation Fund, the state awards 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 Race to the Top Innovation Fund provides a unique opportunity for communities to collaborate and leverage their expertise to develop innovative solutions in education," said Deal. "We set the bar high in the first round, and the applicants selected for round two awards rose to the challenge. These projects provide big scale potential for developing our greatest resource and ultimately, ensuring Georgia's competitiveness."


The eleven selected grant recipients are:


Murray County STEM Academy Murray County Schools, in partnership with Georgia Northwestern Technical College, the Chatsworth-Murray County Chamber of Commerce and others will open program focused on remediating 8th grade students and developing their interest in STEM careers.


The New Teacher Residency Project A partnership between Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and Georgia State University College of Education to address fundamental flaws in the traditional new teacher induction model.


Smyrna Academy of Excellence The Smyrna Educational Alliance, in partnership with Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Lockheed Martin Corp. and others, seeks to open a STEM charter school serving students in south Cobb County.


STEAM Teaching and Leadership Academy  The Georgia Tech Research Corp. and the University of Georgia seek to open the first charter school in Athens with the mission of increasing the number of traditionally underrepresented students who choose STEM fields as a career.


STEM for Life Program  A partnership between Carroll County Schools and Southwire to expand and replicate the existing 12 for Life Program, which supplements classroom learning with real-world experience in advanced manufacturing.


STEM Inventors Academy Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University will work with Cobb County Schools to create a charter school in south Cobb focused on nurturing students into becoming STEM inventors, researchers and problem-solvers.


The STEM Targeted Education Program (STEP) Academy An accelerated coursework, mentoring and Biotechnology Research and Development career pathway program serving at-risk overage eighth grade students in Gwinnett County Public Schools through a partnership with Gwinnett Technical College and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.


Student Applied Learning, New Teacher Induction and Staff Leadership Program Morehouse College, in partnership with Clayton County Schools, will provide an interwoven approach to applied learning and teacher professional development through the implementation of a summer student research and teacher development program.


Teach to Learn A teacher induction program that builds a comprehensive support bridge between teacher preparation at the University of Georgia and teacher induction in Clarke County Schools while building school leadership capacity.


Tift County Mechatronics Partnership Tift County Schools, in partnership with Moultrie Technical College, ConAgra Foods, Heatcraft Manufacturing and others, will develop a career pathway focused on Mechatronics, an interdisciplinary field of study involving control systems, electronic systems, computers and mechanical systems, that will equip students to work in a variety of industrial, manufacturing and health sciences settings.


UGA/GAEL Early Career Principal Residency Program The University of Georgia and the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders will implement a two-year induction program for early career principals in the state's lowest achieving schools.


For Full Press Release Click HERE 


More information about the Innovation Fund may be found on the OPB website 

The Value of the UTeach Replication Program

SPSUTeach Logoby George W. Stickell, Ph.D - Director, Teacher Education Program,

Co-director SPSUTeach


At a recent SPSUTeach team meeting we discussed the benefits of the UTeach replication model. Several themes emerged from the discussion, including the following:

       Strong mentoring

       Student competence

       School/university partnership

       Efficiency and economic value


These themes overlap and reinforce one another in exciting and complex ways.


First, and perhaps the greatest strength, is the strong mentorship for teacher education students-our teacher candidates. While the mentorship makes the program more costly in the short run, it guarantees the success of teachers in their induction years and results in larger numbers of these teachers staying in the field for more than five years, according to all the UTeach data. For us, the value of the mentor relationship is clearly evident in our first two weeks of classes with students seeing credible faculty leading them toward a successful career.


The master teacher mentoring is deliberate, focused, and persistent throughout the program. The master teacher concept is the backbone of the UTeach replication program, because these teachers teach the introductory courses, have credibility as teachers, established the field experience locations, trained the mentor teachers in the schools, and still work closely with university math and science faculty.  The key value of the UTeach model is the constant presence of the master teacher during the teacher candidate's progress through the program.


Second, the SPSU student competence is a major strength of the program. All our teacher education candidates have majors in their science or mathematics disciplines; and even as we begin our program, these students already have a few years of discipline course work. At a polytechnic that discipline is rigorous, integrated, and technological. The master teachers noticed immediately that because our students know their disciplines so well, they are able to concentrate easily on specific pedagogical applications for student understanding. That is, they see science and math implications in precise learning opportunities, assessments, and in the standards themselves. These candidates also have a comfort level with technology that allows them to integrate the technology in all that they do.


Third, the school/university partnership goes beyond a mere assigned requirement for teacher candidates to fulfill, toward a comprehensive plan for teacher candidate success and classroom student's success. The shear number of times that the master teachers and the teacher candidates visit the schools necessitates a common expectation for success between the university and the schools. Beginning with the elementary classroom in Step 1 and moving through to the high school level allows for a vertical collaboration and the candidate understanding of the whole nature of the K-12 standards.


The efficiency and economic value may yet be determined. However, all area superintendents lament and business and industrial leaders are amazed that science and mathematics teachers leave the profession in droves in their first five years. This loss of qualified teachers after four years of preparation and the incurred recruiting and hiring costs is a hidden cost to the community. The UTeach model has shown that the UTeach graduates stay in teaching-which is a direct economic gain for the school, community, and state.


Further, the four-year plan, with strong discipline preparation is an efficient way to produce strong teachers. Learning by doing is always effective and the way the replication model works is to get our students into the classrooms early and often-learning to teach through guided practice. These students hone their talents with hands-on teaching, which saves time and produces a stronger teacher. 


While it appears on the surface to be costly to the university, Southern Poly has gained immediate national and state recognition and credibility for our Teacher Education Program, just by being part of the UTeach constellation. This vetting has opened the door for conversations with donors and industries, and helped solidified the relationships between area school districts. The visibility afforded the university, because of the UTeach Replication Grant, even as a new comer to teacher preparation, has allowed us to become a leader in the state. As a result we are participating in discussions on STEM education, teacher assessment, curriculum development, and student success.


Finally, the UTeach curriculum exudes a quality, based upon research-based strategies, and aligns nicely with the national standards for mathematics and science. It is a quality teacher  preparation program.


The selection of Southern Poly as a UTeach replication site has been good for our students, the university in general, and the area school districts. We look forward to continued work within the UTeach constellation of universities.


UTeach Replication Programs have begun at Southern Polytechnic State, Coumbus State University, and University of West Georgia.  To find out more information about the specific UTeach programs please click on the following links:

Common Core Georgia Performance Standards Broadcasts

Georgia joined with 44 other states and territories to develop a set of core standards for K-12 in English language arts and mathematics. The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent framework to prepare students for success in college and/or the 21st century workplace. These standards represent a common sense next step from the Georgia Performance Standards. 


Through Race to the Top funds, the Georgia Department of Education will broadcast two-hour professional learning sessions through GPB from January 25, 2012, through May 9, 2012.  The following schedule lists the dates, times, and specific subjects for each professional learning training.




Each broadcast will be available for archived viewing at the original broadcast link within 24 hours (closed captioning within 72 hours) of the live broadcast.


For more information about Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, please visit the official website.

Georgia Scores High Marks on USDOE's Review of Year One Progress

Click Image for Report
Georgia's Race to the Top program received high marks in the United State's Department of Education's review of Year One progress within Race to the Top. 

Some of the Major Accomplishments listed in the Year One Report includes:
Improving Teacher Quality
Georgia expanded their teacher pipeline and professional development resources through contracts with Teach for America, the New Teacher Project, UTeach and Georgia Tech's Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC).  Through an additional partnership with CEISMC, Georgia initiated the creation of the new instructional materials to prepare and provide professional development to teachers in STEM subjects.


Supporting Innovation to Accelerate Student Achievement
Georgia awarded five Race to the Top Innovation Fund grants to build partnerships that identify effective applied learning methods that increase instructional support and access to STEM education. The winners included Drew Charter School Partners of Innovation, Teach for Georgia, 21st Century STEM Collaborations, The KIPP Teacher Fellows Program, and The Regional Charter STEM Academy.


Turning Around Low-Performing Schools
Georgia invested additional resources toward Georgia's summer leadership academies to support turning around low-performing schools.  Georgia also opened two Performance Learning Centers (PLC) in Floyd and Richmond County Schools for school year 2011-12. PLCs are small, nontraditional schools geared toward high school students who are not succeeding in the traditional school setting and have been deemed at risk of dropping out.
For the Full Report, Click HERE
In This Issue
Innovation Fund Award Winners
UTeach Replication Program
Common Core GPS Broadcasts
Georgia Receives High Marks


Race to the Top: Georgia


State to Evaluate Teacher Evaluations in Race to the Top


Race to Top Innovation Fund Grants Awarded


City Schools begin Race to the Top Evaluations 


Deal announces second round of Race to the Top grant winners


State Gets Race to the Top Feedback