State Board Reports

05/12 - May State Board of Education Report

May State Board of Education Report
by Stephanie Tanner on 5/12/2023

May State Board of Education Report

The State Board of Education did not meet in April, which meant there were many items to cover during the CommitteeCommittee of the Whole, and regular State Board meetings. The meetings took place over two days on May 10th and 11th with committee meetings on the first day and the Committee of the Whole and full State Board meeting on the second. To view the complete agendas, click the highlighted links above.


District Flexibility & Charter Schools Committee

Tiffany Taylor, GaDOE Deputy Superintendent of Policy, Flexibility, and External Affairs, presented the 11 agenda items. The agenda consisted of 10 charter system renewals and one State Charter Schools Commission approval for refinancing a facility. Representatives from the charter systems thanked the committee and spoke in support of the work at their schools. There was some discussion around the State Charter Schools Commission approval and why the school did not meet financial qualifications. Representatives said financing for facilities is a common challenge for these charter schools and that they look at whether the financial situation affects students’ academic performance and day-to-day school operations. All agenda items were moved to the consent agenda.

Rules Committee

The agenda consisted of three items, including the new Georgia K-12 English Language Arts (ELA) Standards, qualified dyslexia screening tools, and the 2023-2024 private school list for the Special Needs Scholarship Program. Most of the discussion focused on the new K-12 ELA standards, the process for creating them, and whether GaDOE felt comfortable and ready to move forward with them, especially because of the need to align with the new literacy requirements in HB 538.

Dr. April Aldridge, GaDOE Deputy Superintendent of the Office of Teaching and Learning, outlined how the ELA standards were created based on input from two review committees and a working group of more than 300 ELA educators who drafted recommendations. Dr. Aldridge explained that the standards align with the expectations around foundational literacy, structured literacy, and the science of reading in HB 538. Superintendent Richard Woods said the department is 100 percent ready to move forward with these standards but that professional development will be critical. Nick Ellis, Stan DeJarnett, and Lisa Kinnemore thanked everyone, especially educators, who were involved in creating these standards. Scott Sweeney hopes the state can minimize how many changes need to be made to standards in the future due to the vast number of resources that must be dedicated to training and professional development when implementing them after an overhaul. He said this as a cautionary comment, particularly for legislators. Lisa Kinnemore supports the suggestion from RESAs for annual reviews of standards. The standards were moved for a separate vote.

Funds for qualified dyslexia screening were allocated in the FY24 budget. This item was moved to the consent agenda.

Five schools have applied to be on the 2023-2024 private school list for the Special Needs Scholarship Program. There will be 287 total schools on the list to participate. This item was also moved to the consent agenda.

Budget Committee

The budget committee agenda was a lengthy one with 45 items. Rusk Roam, GaDOE Chief Financial Officer, presented. He highlighted the $2,000 salary increase for certified teachers and personnel, the State Health Benefit Plan PMPM employer contribution increase, funding for dyslexia screening and school counselors, and other school personnel pay raises. The committee moved quickly through the items with some discussion around a few. All items were moved to the consent agenda. See below for a few budget discussion highlights.


=       The committee discussed contract renewals for Jetdoc and Chandley Communications, Inc., which provide on-demand mental health counseling services and outreach to homeless students to connect them to resources.

=       GaDOE Chief Turnaround Officer Stephanie Johnson presented a new contract for the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) to provide professional development and other resources centered on leadership skills to school leaders and educators.

=       The committee discussed round 1 recipients of school-based health center planning grants. The grants will be awarded to eight school systems. Mike Royal shared concerns that most of the districts, including Hall, Fulton, and DeKalb, were not rural and had access to large hospital systems.

Audit Committee

Because an incident arose in the district, representatives from Talbot County Schools did not attend the March State Board meeting. Superintendent James “Jack” Catrett answered questions and appealed to the Board, explaining that the primary reason the district has not met financial goals is due to personnel issues. The district does not have enough qualified applicants to correct personnel issues. Dr. Catrett explained that the school system had a 97.6 percent graduation rate before COVID, but recently the district has struggled due to COVID, tornado recovery, high levels of gun violence, and other issues that often plague rural schools. Mike Royal noted a lack of detail, specificity, and urgency in the corrective action plan. Dr. Catrett hopes that new personnel and local board members will help put the district on the right track. GSBA received mention for recently interviewing district representatives about progress made and handling tornado recovery and school safety issues. The superintendent also wants the board to achieve board recognition. Chair Downey said he remains hopeful and looks forward to seeing a positive report in six months. Downey and Royal asked Talbot County Schools to come back for the November State Board Meeting.

State Schools Committee

Atlanta Area School for the Deaf Superintendent J. Jack Johnson presented a school update using American Sign Language (ASL). Johnson’s presentation emphasized how the school provides students with total access to language and communication, which increases incidental learning and allows students to feel a sense of belonging.

Dr. Kenney Moore, State Schools Director, said state schools are working on revamping their culture. He then gave a presentation on the Smokey Powell Center, which is managed by the Georgia Foundation for Public Education. The Georgia Academy for the Blind supports 85 local education agencies through the Smokey Powell Center by providing services like mobile ophthalmologists, assistive technology assessments, and equipment loans. Dr. Moore thanked the State Board for recognizing and fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility of managing the funds so students will continue to be served for many years to come.

Committee of the Whole/State Board Meeting


Jack Griffin from FoodFinder presented the inspiration. Mike Royal introduced Mr. Griffin, who he first met as a high school student in Gwinnett County. The mission of FoodFinder is to easily connect families to free food programs with the goal of ensuring students are fed when they’re out of school. The need for free food programs in Georgia and across the country has increased due to COVID and inflation. Since launching the FoodFinder app, families can connect to 50,000 free food programs across all 50 states, and 175,000 Georgians and 2.2 million Americans have been served through the app.

The Board created the consent agenda.

Actions Taken

All 45 Budget Committee items, two Rules Committee items, and 11 District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee items were placed on the consent agenda and approved.

The Board voted on two legal appeals, case 2023-25 and 2023-27. For case 2023-25 concerning Jeff Davis County Board of Education, the State Board voted to affirm in part and reverse in part. The decision was approved with a vote of 10 to 4. For Case 2023-27 concerning Muscogee County Board of Education, the State Board voted unanimously to reverse the decision of the local board.

The Board took more time to discuss the new K-12 ELA standards before voting. Lisa Kinnemore wants to ensure RESAs, educators, and other groups have had a chance to look over the standards and to confirm alignment with HB 538. Frank Griffin expressed confidence in the development process. Scott Sweeney reiterated that overhauling standards takes a lot of time and money and disrupts teachers’ stability so it’s important to be able to use standards for many years. Teacher of the Year Michael Kobito has not heard concerns about the changes to the standards, but he has heard from other teachers that it’s important to have enough time to be trained to implement them properly. The K-12 ELA standards were approved with a vote of 13 to 1 with Kinnemore as the dissenting vote.

Chair’s Reports

Superintendent Woods did not provide a report this month. Chair Downey introduced Caroline Pedersen, a recent college graduate who will begin teaching special education in the fall. Ms. Pedersen gave information about Georgia Miss Amazing, a national self-esteem movement led by and for girls with disabilities, The organization encourages self-advocacy by building confidence and enhancing leadership and communication skills. 

Joy Hawkins from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) introduced Fran Dundore, the new Director of School Services. Fran is taking over the Governor's Honors Program and academic auditing responsibilities. Director Hawkins and Dr. Dundore gave an overview of the academic auditing process. During the typical process, GOSA looks at four areas for flags: answer change, unusual response pattern, gain score analysis, and response time analysis. Then schools with three or four flags would be audited. Due to COVID, GOSA will use a different process of randomly monitoring 50 schools this year. 

Next month will be Michael Kobito’s last meeting serving as Ex-Officio to the Board. The 2024 Georgia Teacher of the Year will start his/her term in July.

The Board will meet next on June 14th and 15th.


Graduation season is upon us, and now is a wonderful time to invite State Board members, senators, and representatives to graduations, award ceremonies, and other events to highlight successes in your district.

03/23 - March State Board of EducationReport

March State Board of EducationReport
by Justin Pauly on 3/23/2023


To view the agenda in its entirety please click SBOE Meeting Agenda.

The State Board of Education met for their 2-day meeting Wednesday, March 22 and 23rd. The two days consisted of committee meetings and the full State Board meeting.

Committee Meetings


All items were pulled for a separate vote. Only one item created concerns which were around the Living and Working with Artificial Intelligence Standards which was up for adoption. Some committee members want to ensure there are guard rails for critical thinking, ethics and that students understand the negative effects of artificial intelligence. Most public comment supported the standards. Mr. Woods told the committee that he is open to looking at the standards to incorporate their concerns. The item will be pulled for a separate vote.

District Flexibility

There were four charter renewals, one charter amendment, and state charter renewals which were all moved to the consent agenda. Representatives from most of the charter renewals spoke on behalf of their renewal and the accomplishments of their schools. 

State Schools

The district teacher of the year from Georgia School for the Deaf, for the state schools presented on their reading intervention program. Dr. Kenny Moore the State Schools Director gave an update on the schools and went over their organizational restructuring. 


The committee heard all 19 budget items and moved them to the consent agenda.

The conversation centered around the AFY23 Budget presentation by the GaDOE, CFO. He presented the highlights and participated in the discussion. Specifically, around how the GaDOE handles new initiatives and staff to accomplish the implementation. 

Audit Committee

No Audits meeting, it has been postponed until May 2023.

SBOE Meeting

The regular State Board Meeting began with Greg Bluestein political reporter with the AJC. Greg led the State Board in an inspiration about the power of public education and how the small details matter to the future of our state’s students. 

There were three items for Public Hearing. No one signed up to speak.

Action Taken

The consent agenda was adopted and all items pulled for a separate vote were adopted.

Superintendent & Chair’s Reports

Owen Smith, Marketing Manager GA State Parks. Mr. Smith presented on the educational opportunities for students in State Parks. He spoke about in person, on location conservation and historic study that cannot be experienced in the classroom. For more information on the field trips and educational opportunities click here. There are 66 state parks and historic sites available within a close driving distance anywhere in Georgia and at a low cost. 

GA Leads Pilot Presentation

Nathifa Carmichael, Director of Educator Support and Development 

The Teacher Burnout Task Force Report was the driver to develop the Georgia Leads Pilot Program. It is a new teacher evaluation system. It is currently being piloted in selected school districts around Georgia. It is a teacher focused system to improve student outcomes. It is designed to support and grow the teachers for student achievement and ultimately better schools. Key components of Georgia Leads; Targeted Teacher Performance Standards, Student Indicators of Growth, Achievement and Development, Professional Growth and Advancement. The pilot will be launched in the fall of 2023. 

NASBE Healthy Schools Facility Network Grant

Melissa Farenbrook from the CDC Healthy Schools Branch

Presented on how the CDC can partner and provide resources and grant opportunities for schools in Georgia. For more information on the CDC Healthy Schools Division click here.

Dyslexia Update

Jennifer Lindstrom, Statewide Dyslexia Coordinator

This program was initiated by SB48 the Dyslexia law which passed in 2019. The team has worked on the Dyslexia Rule which was passed by the State Board in September 2022. There is Dyslexia funding for the 17 endorsement programs. There will also be a list of Dyslexia screeners that the State Board will vote on. Georgia is in year 3 of the Dyslexia pilot program which is currently in select school districts across the state. There is also a Dyslexia Task Force of 60 members with working groups. For more information on the Department of Education’s Dyslexia program click here.

Communities In Schools Central Georgia Bibb County

The representatives spoke about their efforts, impact and highlights in Bibb County and the important partnership with their local school district. Chair Jason Downey invited them to speak. Click here for more information.

The meeting adjourned.

02/20 - February State Board Report

February State Board Report
by Angela Palm on 2/20/2023


The State Board of Education met last week on February 15th and 16th to do its Committee work, meet in a Committee of the Whole to create a consent agenda, and finally to hold its regular meeting.  Click on the links to see the agendas and any attachments.

The State Board has recently been on a kind of speed meeting schedule that is working well at keeping everybody focused and the meeting moving.  The four Committees finished in an hour and a half. Long may this efficiency last!

District Flexibility and Charter Committee 

This Committee had only two items and both were put on the consent agenda. The contract terms for the four local charters in Savannah-Chatham were extended to allow them time to generate performance data needed for charter contract renewal decisions.

The Committee also moved Governor Kemp's nominations for the State Charter Schools Commission to the consent agenda.  A little information in addition to that in the nomination letter for the new appointees:  Jim Cole was drafted as a pitcher by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1993 but an injury ended his short professional baseball career.  He served as a Floor Leader for Gov. Sony Perdue for several years before leaving the Legislature, where he served from 2005-2011, to return to Mercer, his alma mater.  Dr. Ben Scafidi worked with Gov. Roy Barnes' Education Reform Commission and served as Gov. Sonny Perdue's first education policy advisor. He was also the Chair of the 2009 State Charter Schools Commission and has authored a number of reports on school choice, school district expenditures, and student achievement.

There was a brief discussion on HB 87 which would establish a network of "completion schools" instead of having just Mountain education, Foothills, and Coastal Plains.

Budget Committee

All budget items were moved to the consent agenda with a few brief discussions.

Audit Committee 

The Audit Committee has been monitoring the work being done in districts labeled high and moderate risk by 2021's SB 68.  Since the last report, four districts have been removed from the list and another is about to come off.  The Department is still waiting for a few audits being done by CPAs.  The Department of Audits has completed all '21 audits but the reports are still being written. Three more districts will come off the list when those reports are released. 

There was discussion around the issues in a few of the districts, particularly Talbot. Chair of the Committee, Mike Royal, requested that the Talbot Superintendent and board chair at a minimum, be at the March meeting to answer questions.

Rules Committee 

Most of the items were put on the consent agenda.  The two rule adoptions were held out for a separate vote as always.

We now have standards posted for review on Living and Working with Artificial Intelligence (AI), a middle school exploratory course.  With all the news around AI, maybe we should all explore this course.

Three rules have been initiated for changes:  

  • Child Find Procedures is being amended to remove required interventions before referral to special education for all suspected disabilities. It was previously posted in December but the Department has received additional feedback.
  • Georgia Learning Resources System (GLRS) is being amended to remove obsolete language and to be more precise and consistent. Feedback has been sought since Fall 2022.
  • Grants for Services is being amended to allow flexibility to maximize state funding.

David Nuckolls, Executive Director of the Georgia Center on Innovation which is a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, has been appointed to the Georgia Foundation for Public Education Board of Directors. 

Committee of the Whole 

The Inspiration was provided by Dr. Grant Rivera, superintendent of Marietta City Schools.  He thanked the Board members for their work and leadership.

The Board honored former Board members Mike Long and Scott Johnson for their service.  Long and Johnson expressed their appreciation and thanks for the friendships and the work done there.

A public hearing was offered for two rules up for adoption but no one wished to speak to them.

The consent agenda was compiled.

State Board Meeting 

The consent agenda was approved as were the two amended rules up for adoption. 

  • The rule on the Statewide School Nutrition Program was amended to reflect last year's SB 397 which replaced "general educational development (GED)"  with "state approved high school equivalency (HSE)." It also reflects updates in food safety certification and aligns the rule with the Department's current training modules for manages.
  • The Dual Enrollment rule was amended to change "Option A" and "Option B" to "Dual Enrollment Requirements for the Traditional High School Diploma" and "Dual Enrollment Requirements for the Accelerated Career Diploma."

State Superintendent Richard Woods passed on providing any presentations.  Chair Jason Downey reported on the NASBE Healthy School Facilities Network grant. Caroline Pakenham, Associate Director of Water Programs at Elevate and advisor to NASBE, spoke about health improvements through facility improvements.

Dr. Dana Rickman, President of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, discussed the CARES Impact Study: Year One Report which describes how pandemic relief funds have been used so far and the challenges districts are facing. This study will be done over a four year period.  The link will take you to all the information on the study.

State Board member Helen Rice announced tomorrow, February 21st, will be Dyslexia Day at the Capitol.

Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Dr. April Aldridge gave an update on the English Language Arts (ELA) standards revision.

New Board member Nick Ellis, who serves in law enforcement and is a former school board member in Wayne County and a former District Director of GSBA, was introduced.

The next meeting will be March 22-23. 

01/13 - January State Board Report

January State Board Report
by Angela Palm on 1/13/2023


As you might have noticed, it was a busy week downtown!  The State Board of Education compressed its usual two days worth of meetings into one and quickly took care of its business.  When sworn in, the Board will have two new members: Nick Ellis, former local school board member in Wayne County, replaces Mike Long in District 1 and Richard Valladares, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig and a mentor to students participating in the Georgia Latino Law Foundation, will represent the 6th Congressional district.  Redistricting put Scott Johnson and Scott Sweeney in the same district.  Scott Sweeney now represents the 11th Congressional district.

Agendas for the Committee of the Whole and the State Board meeting are available by clicking on the links. All items were moved to the consent agenda and approved by the Board. State Board member Lisa Kennemore, representing the 4th Congressional district, offered a prayer and led the pledge to begin the meeting of the Committee of the Whole.

Budget items all reflected distribution of federal funds.  Two items were specifically for rural schools as 34 districts receive up to $1.4 million to improve school safety practices and infrastructure and 115 receive up to $11.5 million to improve technology and infrastructure.  To support schools newly identified as Targeted Support and Improvement , Comprehensive Support and Improvement, or Tier IV the Title I, Part A school improvement grant was increased by $1.7 million.

An amendment to the Dual Enrollment State Board rule was initiated to retitle the two options for the program. Standards were adopted for Army JROTC Cyber 1, Hotel Operations and Management, and three courses for the Powersports and Small Engine Maintenance and Repair Pathway. These course will be added to the State-funded List of K-8 Subjects and 9-12 Courses.

An amendment to the Hall County Strategic Waivers Contract was approved to add a waiver of the requirements for school councils. 

State Superintendent Richard Woods passed on offering a report this month.  Chair Jason Downey invited Blake Sullivan to share with the State Board "The Leader In Me" program begun in Bibb County by the Business Education Partnership in Macon.  The program is based on Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It is being used in over 5,000 schools in all 50 states and over 50 countries. Mr. Sullivan offered results from Bibb County. They would like to expand the program statewide.

The State Board will hold its next regularly scheduled meetings February 15-16. 

12/08 - December State Board Meeting

December State Board Meeting
by Justin Pauly on 12/8/2022


The State Board of Education completed its regular round of monthly meetings today.  The day opened with a two-part inspiration. First, State Board member Martha Zoller introduced her guest Pastor Rod Hughey for a short message.  Second, Dr. Stan DeJarnett invited Muscogee County Superintendent Dr. David Lewis and his choral group from the Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts.  Dr. DeJarnett heard them at the GSBA June conference and wanted the other Board members to hear them. You can hear these very talented students starting at about 23:00 into the recording.

No one wished to speak at the public hearing on the proposed change to the student attendance rule. 

Click on the links for the agendas for the State Board meeting and the Committee of the Whole.  Committee meetings on Wednesday worked from the agenda of the Committee of the Whole.

The Board took the following action today:

  • Amended their bylaws to allow up to two regular meetings to be held outside Atlanta
  • Adopted the amended State Board rule on student attendance to incorporate HB 1292 regarding student participation in 4-H programs or activities
  • Tabled legal appeal 2023-03 to reverse a local board decision (they are checking on the timeline to clarify the deadline for their decision)
  • Approved the nominating committee report so officers remain as they have been this year:  Chair, Jason Downey; Vice-Chair, Dr. Stan DeJarnett; and Vice-Chair of Appeals, Leonte Benton
  • Approved the consent agenda which included- appointments to the State Charter Schools Commission,  posting proposed changes to the Statewide School Nutrition rule, and posting more standards for various subjects

Reports were done during the Committee of the Whole.

Superintendent's Report 

Dr. Keith Osburn, Deputy Superintendent for Technology Services, and Dr. Russ Cook of the Vinson Institute presented a report on the work of their task force, convened by State Superintendent Richard Woods, to develop standards around the purpose and role of technology in the 21st century classroom.

State Superintendent Woods presented Dr. Caitlin Dooley with the Distinguished Service award as she moves on to serve as the Executive Director of Voices for Children.

The Board received an update on the English Language Arts standards.  Comments closed on December 5th so they are still analyzing them.

Chair's Report 

State Board member Mike Royal took a moment of personal privilege to recognize the long career and work of Dr. David McCleskey who has retired from Gwinnett County Schools. 

Major General Tom Carden, Adjutant General of Georgia, talked with the State Board about the purpose and use of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), sometimes referred to as "the military test." It is provided free by the Department of Defense. He told them that nationally only 23% of high school graduates qualify for military service due to academic, medical, and/or obesity reasons.  Gen. Carden said many high schools in Georgia do not allow this testing and many of those who do will not share the testing data with military recruiters. When asked why schools aren't allowing the test, Gen. Carden said the military had not done a good job of communicating with others about it.

Students who take the test are under no obligation to join the military but if they score well, they are likely to receive visits from one or more recruiters. Several Board members shared stories of their children's success due to this vocational battery.  Board member Scott Sweeney suggested they look at a rule to require students be given information about the test and Board member Scott Johnson agreed as they would be mandating information not the test.  An audience member who had transferred here from Oklahoma shared with the Board a law that passed there in 2021 to require all public schools to offer the test to sophomores through seniors and consult with military recruiters.  

Dr. DeJarnett took the opportunity to bring up another issue -- the difficulty schools are having getting ROTC instructors. Gen. Carden said they would work with them on that.

The final part of the Chair's report was from Dr. Thomas Koballa, Dean and Professor of Education at Mercer University.  Dr. Koballa told the Board about the transitional school they will open in Fall 2024, the Roberts Academy at Mercer University in Macon.  It will serve children with dyslexia in grades 2-5. It will be the only school like this outside of Atlanta.

Literacy Efforts Update 

On Wednesday, Joy Hawkins, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) and Stacy Lutz, GOSA Director of Strategic Programs and Evaluations, provided an update on the Growing Readers program.  This is a K-3 literacy professional learning grant designed and implemented by the RESAs across the state. Click on the link for more information on the program. The presentation begins at 15:40 in the recording of the meeting.

Georgia Academy for the Blind Performers 

Eight students from the Georgia Academy for the Blind provided a good end on Wednesday for a day of Committee meetings as they sang three songs and then preformed on the drums. To listen, check the recording about 2:42:00 in.  They are a good reminder of why we do what we do.

The next meeting of the State Board will be January 11-12. 

11/04 - November State Board Report

November State Board Report


The State Board of Education met for their November meeting. The committees met Wednesday and the Committee of the Whole and the State Board meetings were held Thursday. To view the list of board items click here to see the full board meeting click here.

The only change to the schedule this month were that the state board of education added two work sessions: one to discuss the future of Foothills, Mountain Education Center, and Coastal Plains charter high schools and the other to discuss assessments. There is more on these below.

Rules Committee

The Rules Committee had three items to consider. The State Board is changing their bylaws to periodically hold meetings outside of Atlanta. This item was pulled for a separate vote. The Bylaws must sit for 30 days before adoption during the December meeting. The next item was the posting of the K-12 English Language Arts Standards. These standards are to revise/ develop and implement viable academic standards that engage learners with essential knowledge, skills, and enduring concepts, according to the GaDOE. The ELA standards were also pulled for discussion and a separate vote for the full meeting. 

A change in the State Board rule on student attendance was also discussed.  It will be adapted to incorporate the legislative change in HB 1292 to count a student present if they are participating in an activity or program of 4-H. This went on the consent agenda for initiation. Adoption of the standards for Research, Design, and Project Management course revision was originally on the agenda but was removed from consideration the day before the meeting.

District Flexibility & Charter Schools Committee

The only item for discussion was a reappointment to state charter schools commission from the Lt Governor, the item went to the consent agenda for the full meeting.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee discussed the list of moderate and high-risk school districts as it relates to financial controls. Since the last meeting one district was added and four were removed. For more information see the list by clicking here. The goal of this committee is to work with the districts for corrective actions and improvements.

Budget Committee

All items were added to the consent agenda for the full meeting. 

State Schools Committee 

The State Board heard a presentation from the state schools director and his staff regarding student enrollment, data assessment, and results.

Work Session State Charters Foothills, Mountain Ed, and Coastal Plains 

To kick off the session, House Speaker Pro Tem Representative Jan Jones took the podium and spoke of the findings of the report for the house education working committee for alternative education (students who are at risk for dropping out), the committee was in agreement in their conclusions. Speaker Pro Tem Jones indicated that the current model for these three schools needs to be changed. Currently, school districts who are in the region of one of these charter schools can send a student who has dropped out or in jeopardy of dropping out to take classes in a non-traditional way. The current model is a unique option for night/evening school so the student who may have extenuating circumstances can still graduate.  Pro Tem Jones said the committee is concerned with the accountability and the cost of this program which also shifts the burden to the state. This program operates at $43 million for the three schools. The legislative committee also feels the program is over funded for what it provides. They are encouraging school systems to come to the table to help find a solution and the committee requests local districts to step up to allow the schools to become local charters. The legislative committee agrees the schools and the program are valuable but not in its current model. Especially since two of the schools’ contracts are ending next year. She encouraged a collaborative effort on the schools governing boards, local superintendents and boards of education and the state to find the solution.

If you are interested in watching this presentation, click here . The first part was cut off but most of the discussion is captured in the link.

Work Session Assessments

The State Board held a discussion among the members to determine what direction the pilot alternative assessments will go. As of now the districts piloting the assessments are double testing and need to know if it is reasonable to continue the process. The alternative assessments are a formative test. The State Board feels the alternative assessments are high quality and give a picture of how a student is progressing versus a summative assessment which shows how a student performed the previous year. USED wants to see a summative assessment and therefore a discussion must be held with USED to see how they can come to an understanding or gain relief. The State Board wants to hear from the GaDOE on the background, USED guardrails and the state perspective. They also want to know if there is any alternate funding to finish out the pilot since the funding has not been in the budget.

SBOE Committee of the Whole

State Board member, Phenna Petty, brought greetings and introduced Georgia Supreme Court Justice Charlie Bethel to speak for the Inspiration and Pledge of Allegiance.

The full meeting agenda was built during Committee of the Whole.

Full SBOE Meeting

The Board heard a presentation from the GaDOE on the process and background for creating the new ELA standards and how they will be implemented. These standards are available for the 30-day public review and will be up for approval during the SBOE’s December meeting. One concern from the board is timing of the public review, will teachers have the opportunity with Thanksgiving and the end of the semester coming but recognize that finding a perfect time is not possible. The posting of the standards was approved, and the State Board commended the staff for all the work on this initiative and how important these new standards are for Georgia.

Chair’s Report

The State Board Bylaws have been submitted for the 30-day review period and will be up for approval in December. The change allows for meetings outside of Atlanta. New meeting dates for 2023 will be released soon. 

10/06 - September State Board Report

September State Board Report


The State Board met for committee meetings on Wednesday, September 28. Click here to review the committee meeting items and here for the full State Board meeting.

Committee Meetings 


First the Rules Committee met and breezed through their two items, posting the standards for a Research, Design and Project Management course and an amendment adding two RESA’s to the list of Local Board Governance Training Providers. These items were added to the consent agenda for the full State Board meeting.

District Flexibility & Charter Schools

This committee had three items, The first was the list of approved Charter School Board Training providers, next was a charter system renewal for Randolph County and the final item was affirming the State Charter Schools Commission Approvals. All items were added to the consent agenda. 

At the end of the meeting Chairman Jason Downey asked for discussion on school boards that have failed to adopt policies required by recent legislation. He named no names but said it is his hope that have failed to adopt those policies will see that the State Board is discussing it and get the required adoption done.  If they have been adopted by the November meeting, he believes they need to address the issue. The State Board asked the GaDOE to compile a list for review. More on this as it develops.


The Budget Committee had a list of nine items which all went on the consent agenda. Please visit the link above for committee items if you are interested in seeing what was approved. 

Presentation- Innovative Assessment

The State Board heard presentations regarding the Innovative Assessment pilot for the GMAPS and Putnam consortium using Navvy. This pilot program was a provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. Five states were approved for the program; Georgia was the only one approved for two competing pilots. 

Marietta City Schools (GMAPS Consortium) and Putnam County (NAVVY Consortium) presented. The two pilot school districts had a high level of frustration with the GaDOE and the SBOE as to the direction of the programs. They said neither the SBOE, the GaDOE nor the USED had provided feedback or resources on the pilot programs and that the future was uncertain. The districts did not want to proceed with the amount of work and testing without indication of where the program was going. 

After much discussion the SBOE and the GaDOE agreed that the programs should be reprioritized and added an item to the SBOE retreat agenda to discuss the direction, support, and resources towards these two pilot assessment programs. If you would like to watch the presentations and discussion, click here and start at the 1:59:25 mark. To see the state reports on the pilots so far, check here.

SBOE Meeting

The State Board meeting on Thursday, September 29 went quickly with all items on the consent agenda with the exception of two legal appeals which were pulled for a separate vote. The State Board reversed the local board’s decision in appeal 2022-28 and remanded appeal 2022-31 to the local board with instructions to make further findings and conclusions as to the student’s self-defense claim after applying the appropriate law. 

Most of the meeting time was spent listening to a presentation on literacy from the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy. To watch the presentation, click here and start at the 1:04:27 mark. 

The State Board will hold their retreat on Jekyll Island October 10-12. 

08/26 - August State Board Meeting

August State Board Meeting


The State Board of Education met Wednesday, August 22 for committee meetings and Thursday, August 23 for Committee of the Whole and the State Board meeting. The meetings were fairly routine. The Wednesday schedule for meetings allowed for 30 minutes or less for each committee to work through their items. The agenda was not extensive, so they worked efficiently and stayed on schedule. Thursday’s meetings also went as planned. To view the committee meeting schedule click here and to view Thursday’s full agenda, click here.


The Rules Committee only had one item for consideration. This was a new rule for adoption, the Dyslexia Identification and Support which requires policies for screening for dyslexia in grades k-3 for students exhibiting signs or symptoms of dyslexia and to provide parents resources and a process for monitoring progress of the student. The Dyslexia Task Force will continue to meet to advise the process. Training resources and materials will be developed for distribution as well. Since this item is a rule for adoption it was pulled for a separate vote during the full State Board meeting Thursday.

District Flexibility and Charter Schools

The Flexibility Committee had four items on the agenda. Three charter renewals, system renewal for Taliaferro County Schools, Dougherty County charter renewal for Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy, and Griffin Spalding County charter renewal for Griffin Region College and Career Academy. There was also an item to approve the State Charter Schools Commission renewals for which there were two.


The Budget Committee had 12 items mostly consisting of grants and contracts. The Governor’s announcement on designating $125 million for School Based Health Centers for Title I schools was added to the State Boards Agenda August 23rd and the Department of Education is tasked with administering the program. The Chair of the committee Matt Donaldson asked when will this program be implemented? The Department of Education indicated that since the money was so newly designated, they are developing the implementation plan and guidelines and that the State Board will be updated on how the money will be spent. The money must be used for infrastructure and renovations for physical space, salaries, supplies etc.


The Audit Committee met but only had 15 minutes. The discussion centered around the list of districts that are high risk and it was shared that some districts are making the corrective action to address the findings and that some are not. Most issues were specifically around financial controls. The State Board and the Department are working to see how they can help these districts get off the list and on track. The Department is trying to ensure that the district financial staff implements internal controls and works with RESAs (through finance job alike meetings). Audits Chair Mike Royal wants to find partnerships and collaborations to help the districts who are still having issues. The Department has had onsite visits and offered support and consulting services and are monitoring the high-risk districts to ensure compliance. No action was taken during the Audits committee.

SBOE Meeting 

The State Board meeting began with an inspiration introduced by Dr. Stan DeJarnett, Vice Chair. Dr. Dejarnett invited Dr. Valera Hudson, Pediatrician in Chief at Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta. She presented on mental health and resources for helping and supporting children in need. She also highlighted the Kevin & Brittany Kisner Foundation, which is helping to start the Children’s Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness program at Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta.

Public Hearing

The rule for the Dyslexia Identification and Support had a public hearing. Only one speaker spoke, and they were in support for the new rule for Dyslexia Identification and Support.


The consent agenda included all items for action with the exception of the Dyslexia rule. The consent agenda passed unanimously. The next action taken was for the adoption of State Board rule for the Dyslexia Identification and Support which passed unanimously. The rule was praised by the State Board members for all the hard work over the last 2 years to develop it and for the task force and their advisory role as stake holders.

State School Superintendent’s Report

State School Superintendent Richard Woods recognized the following Georgia elementary, middle and high school principals and assistant principals:

Elementary School National Distinguished Principal Dr. Elgin Mayfield, Houston County

Elementary School National Outstanding Assistant Principal, Denise Reynolds, Dawson County

GA Middle School & National Distinguished Principal of the Year, Dr. Jeanette Hallan, East Coweta Middle School, Coweta County

GA Middle School & National Distinguished Assistant Principal of the Year, Thomas County Middle School, Thomas County

GA High School Principal of the Year, LeAnn McCall, Lowndes County High School, Lowndes County

GA High School Assistant Principal of the Year, Krista Pearson, Lowndes County High School, Lowndes County

Superintendent Woods also had Keith Osborne, CIO, Technology Services, GaDOE, present on the work of the Technology Services. He talked about what the GaDOE is doing with cyber security. He also talked about resources for teachers and discussed the Ga Inspire Instructional Supports (curriculum resources for teachers and classroom supports), Ga Learns professional learning, Ga Insights data visualization, GaDOE Online Community and collaboration platform.

Chair’s Report

The Chair opened up the floor for board member comments before adjournment.

Phenna Petty- Condolences to the Deal family on the passing of Ms. Sandra Deal, wife of former Governor Nathan Deal

Helen Rice- Remembering Ms. Sandra Deal for her work in public education and at the Governor’s Mansion

Scott Johnson- Condolences to the Deal Family and the valued relationship with the State Board of Education

Mike Royal- Condolences and prayers to the Deal family, and the strong family they modeled

Lisa Kinnemore- Condolences to the Deal family for their commitment to the state of Georgia

Kenneth Mason- Thanks to the GaDOE and the staff for their hard work for the state of Georgia and Deputy State Superintendent Stephanie Johnson and her school turnaround team

Richard Woods- Thanks to Stephanie Johnson and her work, and the staff at GaDOE, Condolences to the Deal family

Dr. Stan Dejarnett- condolences to the Deal family, congratulations to the principals for their service and their staff’s hard work, partnership and collaboration is the key to success


07/21 - July State Board of Education Meeting

July State Board of Education Meeting
by Justin Pauly on 7/21/2022


July 2022 

State Board of Education Meeting

The State Board of Education met for their monthly meeting. Committee meetings were held Wednesday and the Committee of the Whole and the State Board meeting were held on Thursday as per their typical schedule. The State Board committee meetings stuck to a tight schedule with 15 or 30 minutes slated for each committee.


The 2 transportation rules were up for adoption, if you remember these have been long awaited. The first was a new Rule 160-5-3-.17, Use of Alternative Vehicles for the Transport of Specified Student Groups. Senate Bill 159, from the 2021 Legislative Session, expanded the definition of vehicles that can be used to transport students under certain conditions, which required the State Board to adopt a new rule. The second, was Rule 160-5-3-.02 Contracted Transportation Services. This rule, “updates information from the current rule requested for repeal and grants local educational agencies the opportunity to utilize the services of contracted transportation carriers who may use alternative vehicles to transport a specified student group as allowed under OCGA § 20-2-1076.” 

The next item of interest was initiation of Rule 160-4-2-.39, Dyslexia Identification and Support. This new Rule was created to comply with state law to develop policies for referring students in kindergarten and grades one through three for screening who have been identified through the response-to-intervention process as having characteristics of dyslexia, other disorders, or both. 

The remaining items were added to the consent agenda. 


All Budget Committee items were added to the consent agenda, with most items either grants or contracts. There was a discussion around the Budget Item for FY23 School Based Health Center Renovation Grant, some State Board members felt there is not sufficient guidance for the grant where the greatest need may be, i.e. mental health. GaDOE is currently writing guidance for those using the grant and for others who may utilize the grant in the future. Item 23, $50,000-$250,000 Contracts, one specific contract was pulled for a separate vote, the Southern Region Educational Board, because a State Board member works at SREB.

District Flexibility & Charter Schools

There were 2 items for Flexibility and Charter. One was for a charter amendment and the other was for a charter renewal. Both items were moved to consent.

Committee of the Whole

The inspiration was provided by Mr. Tom Bailey, a Physical Education Teacher at Briar Vista Elementary School in Dekalb County. He has a compelling story about his life through perseverance and overcoming adversity to achieve his dream of graduating college and ultimately becoming a teacher. 

The committee chairs reported on their meetings so the full State Board meeting agenda could be put together.

State Board Meeting

The consent agenda was approved. The 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year was introduced and spoke. The Georgia Teacher of the Year, Michael Kobito, has a non-voting seat on the State Board of Education. This is the third Georgia Teacher of the Year since legislation was passed adding this seat. Mr. Kobito is an AP Music Theory teacher high school band director at Woodland High School in the Bartow County School System. 

Each item that was pulled for a separate vote was passed, including both transportation rules. The State Board expressed appreciation for all the work on both transportation rules and indicated that additional guidance will be available.

There was no Superintendents report and no Chair’s report.            

The next meeting will be August 24 & 25, 2022.

06/16 - June State Board Meetings

June State Board Meetings
by Angela Palm on 6/16/2022


The State Board of Education held called meetings June 9th and 10th and its regular meetings yesterday and today. 

The called meetings were to reconsider its vote on the charter renewal for the Museum School of Avondale Estates.  A motion to approve the charter failed 8-6 in April.  The vote to reconsider was unanimous; the vote to approve the charter was 7-7; the vote to deny it was also 7-7 so neither motion passed. 

The Committee meetings held yesterday followed the agenda for the Committee of the Whole. 

Rules Committee 

Most items on the Committee's agenda were approved to go on the consent agenda for the State Board meeting.  The adoption of the amended Dual Enrollment rule was held for a separate vote as rule adoptions always are.  The proposed amendment to the Board's bylaws was pulled for further discussion.  

Chairman Jason Downey asked Parliamentarian Matt Donaldson to review the bylaws.  He would like to have at least one Board meeting outside Atlanta.  State law was changed in 2011 to allow them to do so.  The question was raised as to whether there is a conflict within the bylaws.  Board members will provide more input and bring the item back late this summer.

Six sets of standards were moved forward for adoption.  Public comments received were mostly positive for them. The transportation rules were back for updating, and this time made it through all the meetings and are now initiated.  The current rule on contracted transportation services will be repealed.  New State Board rules on the use of alternative vehicles for the transport of specified student groups and for contracted transportation services were initiated.   State Board rules are required to lay on the table for at least 30 days for public review before adoption.  If anyone would like to submit comments, the email address is

The Committee also considered the model policy for the Protect Students First Act (HB 1084).  The statute required the State Board to develop a model policy by July 1, 2022 and the Department to follow up with guidance.  Since this is a model policy not a State Board rule, it did not have to meet the 30 day review requirement. Local boards of education, by the way, are required by the statute to adopt a complaints policy for the bill by August 1, 2022.

Budget Committee 

The Budget Committee moved all 39 items on its list to the consent agenda except one.  It held out the contract with SREB for a separate vote.  Items included 15 grants, 11 contract renewals, 7 contracts, 3 contract amendments, and five-year facility plans for 55 districts. Take a quick scan of the budget items for an idea of the array of initiatives being funded.

District Flexibility & Charter School Committee  

The agenda for this Committee was short and all items were moved forward to the consent agenda. Two charters were renewed, one for four years and one for three years; another charter was extended for two years. The Committee also moved forward approval for two contracts of State Charter Schools. 

Audit Committee 

The Committee reviewed the list of high and moderate risk schools as defined in 2020's SB 68. Thirteen are considered high-risk and 10 are moderate. It was reported that some of the corrective action plans for those in the high risk category do not adequately address the factors that put them on the list.  A couple of them have repeatedly failed to provide the requested clarifying information.  Some of the superintendents of these districts have also failed to attend the financial management training required by the statute.

The Committee asked the staff to provide a more detailed report next month.   

Committee of the Whole 

The inspiration was brought by A. J. Goldman, husband of the 2022 Georgia Teacher of the Year Cherie Goldman. In 2010, he sailed in the TransPac race alone from San Francisco to Hawaii.  As one might expect, sailing across the Pacific was not exactly smooth sailing! 

A public hearing was held on the proposed adoption of the amended Dual Enrollment rule.  One person spoke.  She appreciated the clarifying language about the course requirements for Option B students.

The Board built the agenda for their meeting which immediately followed.

State Board Meeting 

All items held out for a separate vote were approved unanimously:  appeal 2022-10, the amended Dual Enrollment rule, and the SREB contract. 

The Superintendent's Report included recognition of Deborah White, retiring Executive Director of GACIS, and Cherie Goldman, who is completing her term as Teacher of the Year.  Both were given Distinguished Service medals.  Superintendent Richard Woods also presented a plaque to Georgia Superintendent of the Year Dr. Noris Price who was also one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year.

Mrs. Goldman presented the report of the Teacher Burnout Task Force. The press release on the project and her powerpoint are also available. The task force included Mrs. Goldman, the nine finalists in her cohort of 2022 Teachers of the Year, teachers from PAGE, GAE, Educators First, and Department staff. The report includes recommendations to address the issues raised.

Chairman Jason Downey's Report included an update on the work around dyslexia from Jennifer Lindstrom, Statewide Dyslexia Coordinator.  Information and resources are available here. Still to come are a State Board rule, an updated informational handbook, and parent handbook.

Craig Walker from Curriculum Associates introduced Regina Hewlett Norman, one of 35 Extraordinary Educators recognized by the company this year.  Ms. Norman teaches at Liberty Point Elementary in Fulton County.  Mr. Downey also presented her with a resolution from the State Board.

We appreciate the participation of State Board members Dr. Stan DeJarnett and Mr. Frank Griffin in a panel discussion at the GSBA conference last week!

The next regular State Board meetings will be held July 20-21.