Georgia's Future. Now! Header
 
 
November 2013

Georgia's Future. Now! 
is a package of initiatives that has withstood the scrutiny of teachers, principals and research.  It features high standards, evaluation and accountability measures focused on improvement, and career pathways to inspire students based on their personal interests and aligned with business needs.
 
Georgia's Future. Now! means: 

Georgia Students Show Gains in All Areas on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) 
 
Georgia Students Georgia's students showed gains from 2011 in all four areas tested, according to national test results released on November 7th.  

The results of 
the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show Georgia's students improving in 4th grade reading and math, as well as 8th grade reading and math. Georgia had higher results than the nation on the 4th grade reading test (222 scale score compared to the nation's 221).
 
In addition to making gains on the overall scale score, the percentage of Georgia's students scoring at Advanced levels increased from 2011 in each of the grades and content areas: 4th grade reading (+2 points), 4th grade math (+1 point), 8th grade reading (+2 points), and 8th grade math (+1 point).

"The results from this year's National Assessment of Education Progress show that Georgia's students are making gains, but we must continue that progress to ensure our students are prepared for life after high school, whether that be college or right into the workforce," State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge said. "I am most proud of the gains our students showed in scoring at advanced levels in each of the grades and subjects tested." 

READING
 
Key Findings in Grade 4 Reading
  • The average reading score for students in Georgia was 222.  This was a one point increase from the score in 2011 (221) and a four point increase from the score in 2009 (218).
  • Georgia's average score in 2013 (222) was one point higher than that of the nation's public schools (221).
  • The average reading score for White students in Georgia increased from 231 in 2011 to 233 in 2013.  The average score for Black students increased from 208 in 2011 to 209 in 2013.  The average score for Hispanic students decrease from 214 in 2011 to 213 in 2013. 
  • The average reading score for students who were eligible for the National School Lunch (NSL) Program increased from 209 in 2011 to 211 in 2013.
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic was 67 percent. This was a one percentage point increase from 2011 (66 percent), and a four percentage point increase from 2009 (63 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic (67 percent) matched the percentage at or above Basic for the nation's public schools (67 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient was 34 percent. This was a two point increase from 2011 (32 percent), and a five point increase from 2009 (29 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient (34 percent) matched the percentage at or above Proficient for the nation's public schools (34 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at Advanced was 9 percent. This was a two point increase from 2011 (7 percent), and a three point increase from 2009 (6 percent).  

Key Findings in Grade 8 Reading

  • The average reading score for students in Georgia was 265. This was a three point increase from the score in 2011 (262) and a five point increase from 2009 (260).
  • Georgia's average score (265) was one point lower than that of the nation's public schools (266).
  • The average reading score for White students in Georgia increased from 272 in 2011 to 274 in 2013.  Black students' average score increased from 251 in 2011 to 252 in 2013.  Scores for Hispanic students increased from 258 in 2011 to 260 in 2013. 
  • The average reading score for students who were eligible for the National School Lunch (NSL) Program in Georgia increased from 253 in 2011 to 255 in 2013.
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic was 75 percent.  This was a one percentage point increase from 2011 (74 percent) and a three percentage point increase from 2009 (72 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic (75 percent) was two percentage points lower than the nation's public schools (77 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient was 32 percent. This was a four percentage point increase from 2011 (28 percent), and a five percentage point increase from 2009 (27 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient (32 percent) was two percentage points lower than the nation's public schools (34 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at Advanced was 4 percent. This was a two percentage point increase from 2011 (2 percent) and 2009 (2 percent).

MATHEMATICS


Key Findings in Grade 4 Mathematics
  • The average mathematics score for students in Georgia was 240.  This was a two point increase from the score in 2011 (238) and a four point increase from 2009 (236).
  • Georgia's average score in 2013 (240) was one point lower than that of the nation's public schools (241).
  • The average mathematics score for White students in Georgia increased from 249 in 2011 to 250 in 2013.  The average score for Black students increased from 224 in 2011 to 226 in 2013.  The average score for Hispanic students increased from 233 in 2011 to 235 in 2013. 
  • The average mathematics score for students who were eligible for the National School Lunch (NSL) Program was 227 in 2011 and 230 in 2013.
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic was 81 percent.  This was a one percentage point increase from 2011 (80 percent) and a three percentage point increase from 2009 (78 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic (81 percent) was one percentage point lower than the nation's public schools (82 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient was 39 percent.  This was a two percentage point increase from 2011 (37 percent), and a five percentage point increase from 2009 (34 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient (39 percent) was two percentage points lower than the nation's public schools (41 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at Advanced was 7 percent.  This was a one percentage point increase from 2011 (6 percent), and a two percentage point increase from 2009 (5 percent).
Key Findings in Grade 8 Mathematics
  • The average mathematics score for students in Georgia was 279. This was a one point increase from the score in 2011 (278) and 2009 (278).
  • Georgia's average score (279) was five points lower than that of the nation's public schools (284).
  • The average mathematics score for White students in Georgia increased from 291 in 2011 to 292 in 2013.  Black students' average score remained the same at 262 in 2011 and 2013.  Scores for Hispanic students decreased one scale score point from 277 in 2011 to 276 in 2013. 
  • The average mathematics score for students who were eligible for the National School Lunch (NSL) Program in Georgia was unchanged at 267 from 2011 to 2013. 
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic was 68 percent.  This was unchanged from 2011 (68 percent) and a one percentage point increase from 2009 (67 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Basic (68 percent) was five percentage points lower than the nation's public schools (73 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient was 29 percent.  This was a one percentage point increase from 2011 (28 percent) and a two percentage point increase from 2009 (27 percent).
  • The percentage of students in Georgia who performed at or above Proficient (29 percent) was five percentage points lower than the nation's public schools (34 percent).
  • In 2013, the percentage of students in Georgia who performed at Advanced was 7 percent.  This was a one percentage point increase from 2011 (6 percent), and a two percentage point increase from 2009 (5 percent).
MORE INFORMATION: 
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) website:  http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/
 
Georgia Reports
4th Math
 
4th Reading
 
8th Math
 
8th Reading
 
Innovation in Teaching Competition 2nd Round Winners Announced
 
Gov. Nathan Deal recently announced two winners in round two of the Innovation in Teaching Competition, a recognition and reward opportunity for teachers who demonstrate innovative teaching strategies.  Governor Deal also called for educational leaders around the state to submit nominations of innovative and effective teachers for round three of the competition. 

 

"The Innovation in Teaching Competition gives us the opportunity to recognize and reward some of our most effective teachers and share their practices with students and other educators across the state," said Deal.  "I am pleased that we will be able to continue this competition with a third round, and I encourage educational leaders to submit the names of teachers who fit these criteria to the Governor's Office of Student Achievement."

 

The two winners in Round Two are listed below.

 

Deborah Goodman
Kindergarten

 

Tara Dougherty 
First Grade

 

Round one winners, announced in August, included Charles Trader (St. Mary's Middle School in Camden County), Amanda Cavin (Unity Grove Elementary in Henry County), and Sarah Welch (Fannin County High School).

 

Each teacher will receive a $2,000 stipend, and each teacher's school will receive $5,000. In addition, Georgia Public Broadcasting will film the winning educators teaching in their classrooms in fall 2013 and winter 2014 as well as interview them about how they prepared their lessons.  The videos, along with the educators' supplementary materials, will be provided to other educators, parents, institutions of higher education and other stakeholders through the state's longitudinal data system and other means.

 

Teachers from across the state submitted applications to the Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) for the second round this fall.  Educators submitted a lesson plan demonstrating innovative and effective strategies to teach reading, English language arts and/or mathematics and made a two-minute video describing their qualifications for the prize.  To be eligible to apply, teachers must have either received an "exemplary" rating through the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES), Georgia's comprehensive teacher evaluation instrument, or received the principal's recommendation as one of the most highly effective teachers in the school.  Educators who teach in school systems that do not yet use TKES could also select one teacher to apply with the endorsement of the school principal. 

 

GOSA also posted a nomination form for round three of the competition.  For this round, GOSA is calling for nominations of effective and innovative educators throughout the state. GOSA will review the nominations and follow up with select candidates for more materials, including, but not limited to: (a) a unit plan, (b) supplementary materials, and (c) a two-minute video demonstrating their presence on camera. 

 

School administrators, instructional coaches, district staff, or GaDOE staff serving a teacher's school can submit nominations and find more information about the competition on GOSA's website
 
Nominations for round three are due by Dec. 5th.  For more information and to nominate an educator for Round Three, please visit the Innovation in Teaching Competition webpage.  
 
More information about the Innovation Fund can be found on the Governor's Office of Student Achievement website.
Savannah-Chatham's Twilight Program Continues to Shine
 
For any student seeking credit recovery or credit advancement options, Savannah-Chatham County Public School's Twilight High School Program will likely meet his or her needs.  The Twilight program provides a blended learning environment in which students can access online courses anytime, anywhere. Twilight has instructors qualified to teach in all major academic areas.  Blended instruction includes an online curriculum aligned to state standards, called A+, and teacher-driven assignments.  The Twilight Program Manager, Debbie Fischer, has witnessed firsthand how the combination of online courses, coupled with access to classroom instructors, can lead to most efficacious results.  "Students have the opportunity to work independently and with their instructors," said Debbie Fischer.

Students may attend the Twilight program part-time or full-time, making it ideally suited for any student need.   Those who have children or are employed, or those who are homebound due to medical issues, can benefit from the Twilight program.  "There are students who are behind and want to get caught up; maybe they have failed a course here or there," Fischer said.  "There are some who want to graduate early and only need a few more credits, so they do this instead of going to their home schools; or they go to their home schools and also attend Twilight."

 

Although the program's flexibility allows students to work independently and at their own pace, the courses are designed to be just as challenging as traditional teacher-led instruction in a traditional classroom setting.  Students may gain credits in all core classes, CTAE classes and even Personal Fitness. Students must meet all course deadlines and complete testing, lab requirements, and any other assignments for mastery of the course within the ten-week period.  They are also required to keep a course log and journal to document time spent on assignments.  "It's as rigorous as it is in the regular, conventional classroom," Fischer said.  "Because it's self-paced, they are responsible for their own learning, and their instructors are there to assist and aid them when needed."

 

The first year, there were 108 students in the program, and those students earned a total of 154 credits.  The program was housed at Woodville-Tompkins Technical and Career High School.  The second year, the district decided to expand the program to all high school students who either wanted to take courses they had failed, or those who wanted to take advanced and accelerated courses.  That year, there were over 800 students enrolled in the program, and they earned over 1,600 credits.  The 2012-13 school year brought even more prosperous growth to the Twilight program.  The school district showed its full support for Twilight by allowing all schools within the district to set up and conduct their own programs based on the original.  Savannah-Chatham had 1,500 students enrolled, and those students earned over 1,888 credits! Students may gain credits in all core classes, CTAE classes and even Personal Fitness.

 

Participation costs nothing for students already enrolled in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System.  Twilight is funded by a $12.7 million grant made possible through the Georgia Race to the Top Initiative. "It is a great opportunity for those students who really want to get back on track, or get ahead and graduate from high school," Fischer said

 

Savannah-Chatham Receives K12 2013 Transformation Award

K12 Inc. (LRN), a provider of curricula and online education programs for students in pre-kindergarten through high school, honored six school districts that have transformed education for their students through innovative online programs at the Blended and Online Learning Symposium; a conference hosted by the International Association of K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) in October. 
 
The winners of the K12 2013 Transformation Award were each selected for a transformative practice that resulted in improving the overall effectiveness, efficiency, and success of online learning, ultimately leading to improved student outcomes.  "These school districts are proving every day that through blended and online learning they can successfully address the individual needs of more of their students," said Gregg Levin, senior vice president of K12's school and district partnerships.  "We are very proud to partner with each of these districts, working together to provide solutions to help their students achieve their academic goals."  
 
Savannah Chatham County Public Schools was the Transformation Award Winner for Extending the Learning Day to Keep Students on the Path to Graduation.

 

For more information about Savannah-Chatham's Twilight Program, please visit the Twilight High School Program Website and the FAQs webpage.

 
Six Schools' Major Improvements Result in Removal from RT3 "Lowest Achieving Schools" List
Puzzle Pieces  
At the beginning of Georgia's Race to the Top program, there were forty schools selected as "lowest achieving schools" (LAS).  These schools were chosen to receive an intense intervention model and implementation of a school improvement plan.  After three years, the list of schools is down to thirty.  
 
Recently, six of those initial forty schools were removed from the LAS list because of their improvements.  Those six schools include:
We spoke with Pulaski County Schools' Superintendent Jane Williams about one of those school's (Hawkinsville High School) success.
  • What improvements have occurred at Hawkinsville High School for the school to be removed from the RT3 Lowest Achieving School and "Priority Schools" list? Hawkinsville High School has made significant academic improvements over the last three years of participation in School Improvement Grant (SIG).  These are the highlights for EOCT:  33% increase in Meets and Exceeds in Physical Science; 6% increase in Meets and Exceeds in Biology; 35% increase in Meets and Exceeds in Economics;  5% increase in Meets and Exceeds in U.S. History;  19% increase in Meets and Exceeds in Math I;  29% increase in Meets and Exceeds in Math II; 8% increase in Meets and Exceeds in 9th Grade Literature; and 4% increase in American Literature.  SAT scores have increased 70 points in four years. 

 

  • What key elements or activities led to these improvements?  With the involvement in School Improvement Grant (SIG), Hawkinsville High School had the opportunity to be served by a Literacy, Math, and Graduation Coach.  These coaches were instrumental in providing valuable professional learning, research, and assistance for our teachers.  Teachers have worked diligently to provide Standards Based Instruction and the use of Formative Assessments to drive instruction.  Hawkinsville High School also implemented Increased Learning Time during the regular school day in order to provide remediation, enrichment, and counseling for the students.

 

  • How did Hawkinsville High School and Pulaski County Schools district staff work together to accomplish these things?  All levels of the Central Office staff have supported the changes taking place at HHS.  The instructional practices implemented have become the new normal for our high school.  The district has worked closely with Hawkinsville High School in the administration of the SIG grant to ensure that all aspects of the grant were implemented.  The Finance Department, SIG Coordinator, and HHS administration coordinated the development and expenditures of the SIG budget. 
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The contents of this newsletter were developed under a grant from the U. S. Department of Education.  However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U. S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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