Dr. Barge DOE logo Georgia's Race to the Top


Issue: # 11

November 2012 


Welcome to the Race to the Top (RT3) E Newsletter!


Highlighted in this issue you will find the latest developments regarding Georgia's RT3 initiatives. Please feel free to forward this issue and contact us with any questions or comments.


Jon Rogers
Race to the Top - Communications
Georgia Department of Education
404-463-1522 (Office)

Department of Education Launches "Georgia's Future. Now!" 

Modern Teacher
Click for Modern Teacher Trailer

Nov. 13, 2012 - State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge today unveiled a first-of-its-kind video web series called "Modern Teacher" as part of new statewide campaign to help build community support for public education.


The novel approach is called "Georgia's Future. Now!", a movement of forward-thinking educators, supportive communities and business leaders answering the call for help.


"It's a research-based initiative, born in the classroom - not in the boardroom - with living examples of what works for teachers to prepare all Georgia students for college and careers," said Superintendent Barge. "It's time to stop tearing down public education and start building it up. There are many things working well in our public schools - and plenty of things not working well - so we need to rally around the successes and build on those and share them with other schools."


The web series is a humorous introduction to a serious discussion about statewide initiatives in public education. It will launch in early 2013 on the web and features a full cast of characters who poke fun at themselves and the changes taking place in public education.


The premiere of each episode will be followed by a serious roundtable discussion about some of the state's primary education initiatives: Common Core Georgia Performance Standards, the new teacher and leader evaluation system, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver and Career Pathways.  No tax dollars are being spent on the video web series.


"Things have been tough around public education lately, so perhaps a little humor will relieve the tension," Dr. Barge said. "It will hopefully open the door to dialogue, create a buzz in our schools, touch your heart and mind while making a point."


Barge launched "Georgia's Future. Now!" on Tuesday morning at Twin Rivers Middle School in Buford. He was joined by J. Alvin Wilbanks, Superintendent/CEO of Gwinnett County Public Schools; Jim Maran, CEO of the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce; Twin Rivers Principal Linda Boyd; and Georgia Teacher of the Year Lauren Eckman.


"This is a positive opportunity to share with people what we're doing well to prepare kids to be productive citizens who can give back to their communities," said Dr. Laurie Barron, the National Middle School Principal of the Year, who leads Smokey Road Middle School in Coweta County. "It's taking all of our approaches, and putting them together in a concerted effort that gets us the goal we're after."  


Find out more at http://www.gafuturenow.org.


To receive news and information about GADOE and "Georgia's Future. Now!" send a blank email to:   


Innovation Fund: Recent Winners & Additional Round

In September, Gov. Nathan Deal announced nine additional 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 Governor's Office of Student Achievement will announce the guidelines for the next round of Innovation Fund Grants by the end of November or early December.  Awards will be announced in early 2013.  
In Governor Deal's September Press release, he stated:  


"The Innovation Fund empowers local communities to work together and think creatively about how to best address their educational needs," Deal said. "The nine grant awards we make today represent a wide range of projects with the potential to serve as tomorrow's best practices."


The nine selected grant recipients are:


Building the Pipeline of Highly Effective Charter Teachers and Leaders - The Georgia Charter Schools Association and Lake Oconee Academy will develop and expand three recruitment, training and alternate certification programs to attract, support and retain highly effective teachers and leaders in the charter school sector.


Community Partnership for a Quality Pipeline of Effective High School Leaders - The Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement will support Paulding County School System to build district capacity and create a pipeline of effective high school leaders.


Computational Thinking: 21st Century STEM Problem-Solving Skills for Georgia Students - The Georgia Institute of Technology will work with B.E. Mays High School (Atlanta Public Schools) and Tapjoy, Inc. to incorporate computational thinking into high school STEM curricula, teaching students to construct models to simulate, visualize and solve real-world problems.


Charter System Leadership Development and Governance Certification Program - As a newly approved charter system, Fulton County Schools and its partners will launch the Leadership and Innovation Academy, a program to equip principals and School Governance Councils with the skills they need to successfully operate and govern a charter school


Drew Charter School Partnership for Expansion - Drew Charter School, the Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (GT CEISMC), the Georgia State University School of Music and others will expand Drew's highly successful pre-K-8 STEAM curriculum to grades 9-12, creating a true cradle-to-college pipeline serving inner-city students.


Greene County STEAM TLA Collaborative - Greene County Schools, the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia faculty and Ed Innovation Partners seek to open a charter school in Greene County with the mission of increasing the number of students who choose STEM fields as a career.


Museum in a Box - The Museum School of Avondale Estates will work with Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Atlanta History Center and others to expand the school's highly successful museum-based learning strategy to metro-area schools. 


Real STEM - A partnership between Georgia Southern University, seven area research institutes and six school districts to develop hands-on STEM learning modules related to the environmental concerns of Georgia's coastal region.   


Rockdale 21st Century Academy of Environmental Studies - Rockdale County Schools, in partnership with GT CEISMC and Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), will create a STEM-focused middle grades school that provides students with portfolio and project-based learning modules.  


For Full Press Release, Click HERE 

Teacher and Leader Electronic Platform Continues to Grow 

Computer Technology

The GaDOE Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Electronic Platform continues to grow as a multi-dimensional, collaborative and self-reflective evaluation system that will build capacity in classrooms, schools and districts, leading to highly effective teachers and leaders for every Georgia student.   As of November 9, 2012, there are 3369 evaluators credentialed on TKES (Teacher Keys Effectiveness System) and 971 evaluators credentialed on LKES (Leader Keys Effectiveness System).  Teachers, administrators, and district officials are using the custom platform consistently to assist with implementing and piloting the teacher and leader effectiveness systems with an average of 2817 logins per weekday and 333 logins per weekend day.  As of November 12, 2012, 1676 leader effectiveness plans and 39,588 teacher effectiveness plans are underway in the TLE (Teacher Leader Effectiveness) Electronic Platform.


In mid-October, the TKES-LKES tool unveiled the LKES Credentialing Module, allowing district leaders the option of online credentialing at their convenience.  The module currently has 366 participants and over half have taken and passed the LKES Credentialing Assessment.  At the end of October, Surveys of Instructional Practice were released to districts to gather student perception data regarding effective and ineffective teaching behaviors.  GaDOE and Truenorthlogic will continue to work together to make performance improvements to the system and expand the TKES-LKES tool to create an Offline tool for observations and to release Climate Surveys.


This new, custom platform will assist educators across 63 districts currently involved in implementing and piloting the new teacher and leader effectiveness systems.  This system does much more than just allow evaluation entry and supporting document housing; it provides written and video professional learning resources, supports student learning objective goals and entries, and will interface with the Longitudinal Data System in the future.

Martha Ann Todd, Associate Superintendent
Teacher and Leader Effectiveness Division
, Georgia Department of Education  

Marietta Schools Joins ERS Resource Evaluation Process

Marietta City Schools logo Recently, Marietta City School Board unanimously decided to join Georgia's Race to the Top strategic resource use project. The project helps school districts discover their current resource usage patterns, best practice spending principles, and specific opportunities for improved resource alignment...both financial and human capital.  
Through this thorough evaluation process, the participating school districts will work with Educational Resource Strategies (ERS) to discover how they can better align financial resources with strategic goals and specific recommendations for policy changes and resource reallocations that will support their vision.  ERS is a non-profit consulting firm, who has worked with a variety of school districts (large and small; urban, metro, and rural) for over a decade.  Their involvement with public school leaders has allowed them to rethink the use of district and school-level resources.
Marietta City Schools joins Hall County Schools, Treutlen County Schools, Fulton County Schools, and Vidalia City Schools as the five participating school districts.  The Georgia Department of Education hopes that this process helps these specific school districts, but also produces some best practices for other similar districts to learn from.
In This Issue
GADOE Launches Georgia's Future. Now!
Innovation Fund Winners & Future Round
TLE Electronic Platform Expands
Marietta Joins Resource Evaluation Project


Georgia Leads the Country in Growth on National Tests


Cobb County's Wheeler High School Receives STEM Certificate


GADOE Launches Statewide Microsoft IT Training for Students


State Meets Race to the Top Deadline


Traditional Teaching Replaced with New Rigorous Standards


Getting Students Interested in Science


Rockdale to get grant money for Science-focused Studies 


Deal Announces Third Round of Race to the Top Grant Winners


Georgia Southern establishes new STEM Education Institute