State Board Reports

06/15 - June State Board Meeting

June State Board Meeting
by Angela Palm on 6/15/2018

GSBA-CWO Header

The State Board held its regular monthly meetings June 13-14.  On Wednesday, several Committees of the Board met.  The schedule, agendas, and attachments can be accessed here. The agenda for the Budget Committee consists of all items listed under Budget on the Committee of the Whole agenda.  On Thursday, the Board met as a Committee of the Whole and held the Board meeting.

Some of the Committee meetings are discussed below.  Scroll down for information on the full Board meetings.

Rules Committee

The Committee discussed the four items for action on Thursday. All were placed on the consent agenda.  

  • Standards for Middle School Computer Science Courses were placed on Thursday's consent agenda.  No issues were raised during the comment period.  Committee members and staff discussed the timeline for updating the high school standards and keeping all levels aligned.
  • Amendments to State Board Rule on Bidding Requirements for School Capital Outlay Projects were initiated.  These changes reflect passage of HB 489 and HB 899. 
  • Troup County school and business officials presented their Locally Developed International Business CTAE Career Pathway courses.  This was approved to post.  The presentation will be repeated for the full Board at the July meeting.
  • Two more private schools were approved to participate in the Special Needs voucher program.  There will be 304 schools from which to choose in 2018-19.

The Committee discussed the feedback and coming evaluation of the Technical College Math and English courses and the Foundations of Algebra course.  The Governor's Office of STudent Achievement is waiting for data to evaluate the courses but expects the report to be available this fall.  Hall County followed through with the Technical College courses with real-time feedback and updating the course information accordingly.

They have not seen much success with the Foundations of Algebra course but they need at least one more year of data before making a decision about the course.  There was not much difference in the scores of students who took this course then Algebra and those who went straight to Algebra.  The Department staff are working with districts with Math Institutes and communication.

They also discussed initiating amendments to the Comprehensive Health/PE rule in July to incorporate the requirements in SB 401 for sexual abuse and awareness education.

District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee 

The Committee discussed the renewal of a charter system, two charter schools, four college and career academies' charters, a charter system amendment, and four SWSS amendments.  The renewals were partially to align the charter dates with the accreditation cycle.  

One of the more interesting discussions was with governing board members of Walton High School, a conversion charter school.  As required by the state, they have transitioned from a governing council to an autonomous governing board.  They plan to have competitive bids in which the district can participate.  They were cautioned about their responsibility for oversight of special education services and received the happy news that they can be sued.  They were also questioned about having made the "mental conversion" from advising to governing.  They've converted.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement announced they would have a report on the external evaluation of Beating the Odds out soon.  If goals aren't met, a school improvement plan must be submitted.  Most of the plans are in.  

First Priority Act Committee 

Chief Turnaround Officer Eric Thomas updated the Committee on the second cohort of schools which includes schools in Richmond and Savannah-Chatham, CTO partnerships, and his work with RESAs.  RESAs will continue to serve the turnaround schools and the CTO's work will be in addition to that. Dr. Thomas is trying to find ways to address the challenge of adding to the quality teachers and leaders in rural areas.  His office is researching before acting but they are considering Teach for America, financial incentives, and working with the private sector in those areas.  

Another challenge he is dealing with is finding a way to do a health assessment for students as part of the required needs assessment under HB 338.  Dr. Thomas is working with Georgia PTA on a parental engagement program.

Communities in Schools is working with the CTO in several districts.  The cost is split up, with the district paying a third of the costs.

Thursday Meetings 

State Superintendent Richard Woods and the State Board celebrated the graduation of 35 students from the state schools for the deaf and blind.  Almost all earned a regular diploma, the highest number ever in a single year.  

It was announced that career-ready diploma seals will be ready for 2019 Georgia graduates. 

One budget item was held for a separate vote; everything else was on the consent agenda.  The item to award RESAs up to $13.8 million in state and federal funds for educational technology services, math mentors, English Language Arts specialists, school climate specialists, and school improvement specialists had been pulled after a discussion in the Budget Committee on Wednesday.  Some Committee members were concerned that there was no accountability framework set up for this money.  There was some thought to releasing the money in portions to retain some control.  On Thursday, the item was added back after the Board received more information about the MOU. 

The Macon County Board of Education has notified the State Board they do not wish to enter into an agreement for the turnaround effort.  The local board will be invited to next month's meeting to explain.  State law allows a local board to turn down the opportunity, but there are consequences.  The State Board has 60 days to either implement one or more of the interventions in 20-14-41(a)(6) or to terminate any charter or flexibility contract held by the board. The State Board looks forward to hearing from Macon County in July.

The Liberty County Board of Education is scheduled for a hearing before the State Board due to its accreditation report.  The hearing is scheduled for July 19th at 12:30.  A hearing for the McIntosh Board is scheduled immediately after.

The State Board will hold its next regular meetings July 18-19. 

05/07 - May State Board Report

May State Board Report
by Angela Palm on 5/7/2018

GSBA-CWO Header

The State Board of Education met last Wednesday and Thursday for their regular meetings.  Matthew Krull, the solicitor general of Douglas County, was recently appointed to the 13th Congressional District seat and was present for these meetings.

Following are items of note from the Committee Meetings:

District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee 

Pelham City and Ben Hill County have decided to switch from being a Strategic Waivers Systems (SWSS) to being charter systems.  The charter will begin July 1st.  Pelham City's plans include:

  • establishing a College and Career Academy
  • expanding dual enrollment options
  • expanding high school course options at the middle school
  • increasing technology integration for students and staff

Ben Hill's plans also include establishing a College and Career Academy as well as flexible scheduling, graduation requirements and student portfolios, and project-based learning.

Dougherty and Randolph Counties charter system contracts have been amended to receive assistance from the State Board and the Department of Education for schools identified as turnaround eligible.

Hall County added eight waivers to its SWSS contract.  All the above changes were approved by the State Board on Thursday.

Rules Committee  

Most of the Committee's time was spent discussing the feedback received on the Standards that had been posted for comment in Journalism, Dramatic Writing, Physical Education, and Fine Arts Music and Dance. Almost all the comments were positive. These Standards were adopted by the Board on Thursday.  Standards for Middle School Computer Science Courses were approved to post.

The state is working on microcredentials for Dramatic Writing.  Professional development for that course will be provided by the Georgia Film Academy in several locations this summer.  The University of Georgia will accept this course for one of the four required English credits.

More schools were added to the private school list approved for the special needs voucher program.  There are 302 now participating, the highest number ever.  There are 4500 students receiving the voucher.  The 2016-17 annual report on the program is available here if interested. 

Education Turnaround Advisory Council 

The Council is a statutory group created in 2017's HB 338 to serve in an advisory capacity to the State Board as the bill is implemented.  The Council has completed the tasks laid out in the statute, but Chief Turnaround Officer Dr. Eric Thomas and Deputy Superintendent of School Improvement Dr. Stephanie Johnson asked the Council to continue to work with them.  Council members agreed to meet with them quarterly.

Wednesday's discussion largely centered around clarifying the process by which schools are selected for turnaround, what that process looks like, how the two leaders align their work, and how they avoid duplication of effort.  As with any new program, it is taking time to sort out what roles, responsibilities, formal and informal processes look like in action.  Most of the Council's questions were to be answered in the meeting of the First Priority Act (HB 338) Committee. 

The next meeting of the Council will be in conjunction with the September meeting of the State Board. 

First Priority Act Committee 

This Committee started where the Council meeting described above left off.  Dr. Eric Thomas presented Georgia's Turnaround Strategy to the Committee. The turnaround process starts with an external needs assessment from which the school identifies four priorities.  The school then develops a 90-day plan. 

A variety of supports are being developed to aid the process. One need Dr. Thomas cited particularly in rural districts is Human Resources support. He is looking at a couple of national management consultants to work with them.  He is trying to have a Health and Wellness screening done for each student in a turnaround school but is ironing out some issues.

Dr. Thomas' plan includes work at the school and district level.  He said there are some districts where schools can't be helped until the district level changes.  It was this balance between school and district work that the Advisory Council was trying to understand. How much work is done at the school level with the involvement of the district leadership and how much is done at the school and district level would seem to be determined on a case-by-case basis.   

Turnaround eligible schools are the lowest performing 5% of schools.  Currently 104 schools fall into that category.  A category of "at risk (of being turnaround eligible)" has been created for those schools scoring an "F" on the CCRPI and in the lowest 5.1%-10%.  There are 170 schools in that category. This category was created to try to avoid schools shifting on and off the turnaround list. The two leaders clearly have enough on their plates to be glad to divvy up the work, and they appear to be working together.  Dr. Johnson discussed her District Review Process

Budget Committee 

For the first time since FY 2009, there is no Daily Salary Schedule.  The State Board adopted the state salary schedule for FY 2019 but noted it doesn't matter as much with the waivers.  

State Board Meeting 

The State Board voted to repeal Rule 160-4-2-.01:  The Quality Core Curriculum and Student Competencies.  All other items were placed on the consent agenda.

The next meeting of the State Board is scheduled  for June 13-14. 

02/19 - February State Board Meeting

February State Board Meeting
by Angela Palm on 2/19/2018

GSBA-CWO Header

The State Board of Education held its monthly meetings last Thursday and Friday.  Agendas and supporting information are available online:  Committee meetings, Committee of the Whole, and State Board meeting

The Budget Committee moved all items forward for consent except the contract with Wiregrass Georgia Technical College for management of the National Science Foundation's "Aligning Impact" grant activities in south Georgia.  The contract would use federal funds.  The item will be taken up at their March meeting.

The Rules Committee moved all items forward except the posting for public review and comment of the Georgia Standards of Excellence for Journalism. That item was tabled until the March meeting.

The District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee moved to the consent agenda the renewal of charters for Coastal Empire Montessori Charter and Oglethorpe Charter for five year terms.  Contract or charter amendments for KIPP Metro Collaborative, Commodore Conyers College & Career Academy, Gwinnett County Schools and Henry County Schools were also moved to the consent agenda.  The Committee also heard an extensive accountability presentation from Peach County on the progress of the schools.

The First Priority Act Committee moved the prospective Turnaround Initiative providers to the consent agenda.

The State Board approved all items on the consent agenda.

Updates were provided to the State Board on several initiatives during the Superintendent's and Chair's reports:

  • Keenville assessment
  • CTAE/Career Pathways
  • Civics diploma seal
  • Chief Turnaround Officer's report

The State Board approved the continuance for the McIntosh County Board of Education hearing.  The hearing is now scheduled for May instead of March.

The next meeting of the State Board of Education will be held March 21-22. 

10/17 - Chief Turnaround Officer Named

Chief Turnaround Officer Named
by Angela Palm on 10/17/2017

Another piece of HB 338, the First Priority Act/school turnaround bill, is on the verge of being implemented.  In case you're wondering what has been implemented, the Education Turnaround Advisory Council (lines 326-364) was named in June and has had several meetings. One of the first tasks for the Council was around the hiring of the Chief Turnaround Officer.

In an open session today, members of the State Board of Education and the Council met the three finalists for Georgia's first Chief Turnaround Officer:

  • Dr. Eric Parker, Superintendent of Eastern Kentucky University's Model Laboratory Schools, also led school improvement efforts in Montgomery, Alabama, after serving as principal in Gwinnett County and Atlanta Public Schools.
  • Dr. Lannie Milon, Jr., a leader at a high school in Houston, worked in turnaround efforts in Houston and Jefferson Parish.  He began his career teaching in Atlanta Public Schools. 
  • Dr. Eric Thomas, Chief Support Officer for the University of Virginia's Darden/Curry turnaround program, also served as Chief Innovation Officer for Cincinnati Public Schools.  He has also been a teacher and principal.

In full disclosure, GSBA is part of the Council and today I was representing the Association.  The information provided here occurred in the open, so no secrets here. 

Each candidate did a presentation based on a scenario given to them.  In two separate groups, State Board members and Council members then interviewed each of the candidates.  Council members could ask anything we wished.  Since most of us are veterans of hiring, we know the rules.

Each of the candidates was passionate and explained their views in detail.  The State Board received information from the Advisory Council in Executive Session as they deliberated on the finalists.  Dr. Thomas was selected.  Negotiations and final checks are the next step.  If all that works out, we have our first Chief Turnaround Officer.  

There has been a lot of concern about how this would work since the CTO reports to the State Board rather than the Superintendent who has his own School Improvement Division.  None of the candidates today took an adversarial position to the Department or school districts.  Rather, there was a general recognition that we're all in this together.  How refreshing.

Advocacy Workshop 

Don't forget our Advocacy Workshop is Tuesday.   If you haven't registered, please do!  Some of the material provided will be specific to your district, so we need to know you're coming.  See you there!

Chief Turnaround Officer Named
by Angela Palm on 10/17/2017

Another piece of HB 338, the First Priority Act/school turnaround bill, is on the verge of being implemented.  In case you're wondering what has been implemented, the Education Turnaround Advisory Council (lines 326-364) was named in June and has had several meetings. One of the first tasks for the Council was around the hiring of the Chief Turnaround Officer.

In an open session today, members of the State Board of Education and the Council met the three finalists for Georgia's first Chief Turnaround Officer:

  • Dr. Eric Parker, Superintendent of Eastern Kentucky University's Model Laboratory Schools, also led school improvement efforts in Montgomery, Alabama, after serving as principal in Gwinnett County and Atlanta Public Schools.
  • Dr. Lannie Milon, Jr., a leader at a high school in Houston, worked in turnaround efforts in Houston and Jefferson Parish.  He began his career teaching in Atlanta Public Schools. 
  • Dr. Eric Thomas, Chief Support Officer for the University of Virginia's Darden/Curry turnaround program, also served as Chief Innovation Officer for Cincinnati Public Schools.  He has also been a teacher and principal.

In full disclosure, GSBA is part of the Council and today I was representing the Association.  The information provided here occurred in the open, so no secrets here. 

Each candidate did a presentation based on a scenario given to them.  In two separate groups, State Board members and Council members then interviewed each of the candidates.  Council members could ask anything we wished.  Since most of us are veterans of hiring, we know the rules.

Each of the candidates was passionate and explained their views in detail.  The State Board received information from the Advisory Council in Executive Session as they deliberated on the finalists.  Dr. Thomas was selected.  Negotiations and final checks are the next step.  If all that works out, we have our first Chief Turnaround Officer.  

There has been a lot of concern about how this would work since the CTO reports to the State Board rather than the Superintendent who has his own School Improvement Division.  None of the candidates today took an adversarial position to the Department or school districts.  Rather, there was a general recognition that we're all in this together.  How refreshing.

Advocacy Workshop 

Don't forget our Advocacy Workshop is Tuesday.   If you haven't registered, please do!  Some of the material provided will be specific to your district, so we need to know you're coming.  See you there!

10/17 - Chief Turnaround Officer Named

Chief Turnaround Officer Named
by Angela Palm on 10/17/2017

Another piece of HB 338, the First Priority Act/school turnaround bill, is on the verge of being implemented.  In case you're wondering what has been implemented, the Education Turnaround Advisory Council (lines 326-364) was named in June and has had several meetings. One of the first tasks for the Council was around the hiring of the Chief Turnaround Officer.

In an open session today, members of the State Board of Education and the Council met the three finalists for Georgia's first Chief Turnaround Officer:

  • Dr. Eric Parker, Superintendent of Eastern Kentucky University's Model Laboratory Schools, also led school improvement efforts in Montgomery, Alabama, after serving as principal in Gwinnett County and Atlanta Public Schools.
  • Dr. Lannie Milon, Jr., a leader at a high school in Houston, worked in turnaround efforts in Houston and Jefferson Parish.  He began his career teaching in Atlanta Public Schools. 
  • Dr. Eric Thomas, Chief Support Officer for the University of Virginia's Darden/Curry turnaround program, also served as Chief Innovation Officer for Cincinnati Public Schools.  He has also been a teacher and principal.

In full disclosure, GSBA is part of the Council and today I was representing the Association.  The information provided here occurred in the open, so no secrets here. 

Each candidate did a presentation based on a scenario given to them.  In two separate groups, State Board members and Council members then interviewed each of the candidates.  Council members could ask anything we wished.  Since most of us are veterans of hiring, we know the rules.

Each of the candidates was passionate and explained their views in detail.  The State Board received information from the Advisory Council in Executive Session as they deliberated on the finalists.  Dr. Thomas was selected.  Negotiations and final checks are the next step.  If all that works out, we have our first Chief Turnaround Officer.  

There has been a lot of concern about how this would work since the CTO reports to the State Board rather than the Superintendent who has his own School Improvement Division.  None of the candidates today took an adversarial position to the Department or school districts.  Rather, there was a general recognition that we're all in this together.  How refreshing.

Advocacy Workshop 

Don't forget our Advocacy Workshop is Tuesday.   If you haven't registered, please do!  Some of the material provided will be specific to your district, so we need to know you're coming.  See you there!

Chief Turnaround Officer Named
by Angela Palm on 10/17/2017

Another piece of HB 338, the First Priority Act/school turnaround bill, is on the verge of being implemented.  In case you're wondering what has been implemented, the Education Turnaround Advisory Council (lines 326-364) was named in June and has had several meetings. One of the first tasks for the Council was around the hiring of the Chief Turnaround Officer.

In an open session today, members of the State Board of Education and the Council met the three finalists for Georgia's first Chief Turnaround Officer:

  • Dr. Eric Parker, Superintendent of Eastern Kentucky University's Model Laboratory Schools, also led school improvement efforts in Montgomery, Alabama, after serving as principal in Gwinnett County and Atlanta Public Schools.
  • Dr. Lannie Milon, Jr., a leader at a high school in Houston, worked in turnaround efforts in Houston and Jefferson Parish.  He began his career teaching in Atlanta Public Schools. 
  • Dr. Eric Thomas, Chief Support Officer for the University of Virginia's Darden/Curry turnaround program, also served as Chief Innovation Officer for Cincinnati Public Schools.  He has also been a teacher and principal.

In full disclosure, GSBA is part of the Council and today I was representing the Association.  The information provided here occurred in the open, so no secrets here. 

Each candidate did a presentation based on a scenario given to them.  In two separate groups, State Board members and Council members then interviewed each of the candidates.  Council members could ask anything we wished.  Since most of us are veterans of hiring, we know the rules.

Each of the candidates was passionate and explained their views in detail.  The State Board received information from the Advisory Council in Executive Session as they deliberated on the finalists.  Dr. Thomas was selected.  Negotiations and final checks are the next step.  If all that works out, we have our first Chief Turnaround Officer.  

There has been a lot of concern about how this would work since the CTO reports to the State Board rather than the Superintendent who has his own School Improvement Division.  None of the candidates today took an adversarial position to the Department or school districts.  Rather, there was a general recognition that we're all in this together.  How refreshing.

Advocacy Workshop 

Don't forget our Advocacy Workshop is Tuesday.   If you haven't registered, please do!  Some of the material provided will be specific to your district, so we need to know you're coming.  See you there!

10/11 - Study Committees Are Busy, Busy

Study Committees Are Busy, Busy
by Angela Palm on 10/11/2017

It's time to catch up on some things.  As is customary this time of year, we have several House and/or Senate Study Committees at work on various topics.  See the rundown and upcoming schedule below.

Our Advocacy Workshop is coming up October 24th in Macon.  If you haven't registered yet, you need to do that!  We've planned an interactive day with a variety of topics, so y'all come on down/up/over.

House Civics Education Study Committee 

HR 634 is the basis for this Committee.  It is chaired by House Majority Whip Christian Coomer with House Education Committee Chair Brooks Coleman and Rep. Joyce Chandler, Vice-Chair of House Education Appropriations serving with him.  Their first meeting was held last week.  The video and agenda are here.

The Department of Education presented information on how civics are included in the standards.  Several other speakers presented their views on the state of civics instruction or lack thereof in the state.  Like the debates around Common Core and AP History of a few years ago, there are lots of opinions on this.  The Education Commission of the States issued a report on the 2015-2017 Civics Education Initiative around the states if this topic is of interest to you.

House School Nutrition Study COmmittee 

HR 57 established this one.  Chaired by House Chair of General Government Appropriations Amy Carter, the fifteen member Committee includes representatives from Floyd, Colquitt, Elbert, Lowndes, and Carrollton City school districts.  The Committee held its first meeting Monday in Elberton and they will be traveling around the state.  They heard from the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.  The Georgia Grown program, getting students to try new foods, and food waste were the major topics.  The video and agenda are available here.

House State and Local Construction Management Study Committee 

HR 284 created this Committee.  Chaired by Rep. Dominic LaRiccia, the nine member Committee has had two meetings to extensively discuss the current process used, particularly at the higher ed level.  Videos and agendas are here.  This is the most technical, down in the weeds you're likely to see a Committee get but it's a specialized subject.

House Education Subcommittee on School Redesign 

Rep. Valencia Stovall is chairing this Committee.  Her HR 316 was not approved to create a Study Committee but she and Reps. Wes Cantrell, Dave Belton, Randy Nix, and Miriam Paris are seeking public input on state assessments and accountability, student-centered learning, and policy barriers.  Their first meeting was in Albany. The second will be next Thursday, see below.

Joint Study Committee on Establishment of a Leadership Academy 

HB 338 (lines 435-486), the turnaround legislation, included authorization for two Joint Study Committees.  Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Gwinnett Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks to chair the one on establishing a Leadership Academy.  They have held two meetings so far to gather information on what is currently in place and what other states have done and any successes.  Videos and materials are here

Joint Study Committee on Establishment of a State Accreditation Process 

This one was also authorized in HB 338 in lines 381-434 but hasn't gotten off the ground.  Gov. Deal made his appointments in August but the rest have not been made as far as we can tell.  

Senate Study Committee on Special Tax Exemptions 

SR 222 authorized this Committee.  Chaired by Sen. Chair of State and Local Government Operations John Albers, the six person Committee has met three times.  They have found there is a lot to digest and want to set up a regular review of exemptions and establish a template for consideration of exemptions and credits. 

The materials from the Committee meetings have not been posted online but anyone interested can contact Sen. Albers' assistant for them.

Senate Cyber Security Education Study Committee 

SR 454 established this one. Senate Chairman of Science and Technology Bruce Thompson is chairing the seven member Committee.  They held their first meeting today at Augusta University.

Rural Focus  

The two chambers took different paths to focus on the needs of rural Georgia.  HR 389 created the House Rural Development Council. This large group has been busy since May.  Videos and materials are available here.  You will notice there has been a strong focus on healthcare, economic development, and broadband.  Meetings in November will focus on workforce development and K-12.  SR 392 established the Senate Rural Georgia Study Committee.  Healthcare has been a large focus for this group too.  Committee documents are available here.  (Scroll down to SR 392) The Senate plans to start webcasting their meetings next year but for now there are no videos available.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE 

(Check the legislative calendars for the meetings or ask the staff member for the Committee to add you to the mailing list)

Tuesday, October 17th

10 AM Joint Study Committee on Establishment of a Leadership Academy will meet in the DECAL Board Room, the Oak Room, on the 8th floor, East Tower of Sloppy Floyd building

10 AM House Study Committee on State and Local Construction Management will meet in 506 CLOB, Agenda here

Thursday, October 19th

9 AM House Military Affairs Working Group will meet in 406 CLOB (This group has been meeting since 2016 and several pieces of legislation have come from them.)

5 PM House Education Subcommittee on School Redesign will meet at Georgia Public Broadcasting at 260 14th St. NW in Atlanta

Wednesday, November 1st 

2 PM Joint Study Committee on Establishment of a Leadership Academy will meet at 437 Old Peachtree Rd. in Suwanee in the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center 

09/29 - State Board Discusses ESSA and Holds Meetings

State Board Discusses ESSA and Holds Meetings
by Angela Palm on 9/29/2017

The State Board of Education completed its monthly meeting yesterday (Thursday).  Wednesday included meetings of the Rules Committee, District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee, Budget Committee, and Executive Session.  The Budget Committee reviewed all relevant items from the agenda of the Committee of the Whole. 

Yesterday the Board met in full, held its official meeting, and held a hearing on the McIntosh County Board of Education due to its accreditation status.  McIntosh's motion for a continuance was granted and the hearing was suspended until March 22nd.  The district will make monthly progress reports by the fifth of each month.

If your interest is just in the discussion on the state ESSA plan, scroll to the bottom. 

Rules Committee 

The Rules Committee reviewed the changes up for adoption this month to the rule on Language Assistance.  Staff said the minimum required by ESSA was put into rule.  Guidance will provide more direction to districts but the districts can go above the minimum in the rule.

Standards for World Language 3 were created at the request of districts that have students coming in having taken less commonly taught languages such as Farsi and Hindi in other countries. Students receiving credit in lieu of enrollment in a foreign language are not counted in the CCRPI calculation.

The Committee received a report by district on usage of the Teacher Resource Link (TRL).  Teachers in some districts are using it a lot more than others.  They also received a report on the impact of Hurricane Irma on schools.  Staff noted that many districts do not have back up generators and that power was off long enough in some places that the schools lost all the perishable food.  There was discussion as to whether districts had insurance coverage for that and they are working on finding that out.

Six SWSS districts did not include a waiver for the minimum school year so may need a waiver -- or amend their contract as two districts plan to do. 

District Flexibility Committee 

The Committee heard a report on the newly approved State Charter Schools.  Taliaferro County presented its case for switching from being a SWSS district to a charter system, the state's 43rd.  Contract amendments and charter grants were also reviewed.  Stewart and Twiggs were the school districts reporting to the Committee this month on their accountability results and plans to improve.

Budget Committee 

All their items include powerpoint slides with data if you want more information on any of them.  The Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in GA grant (formerly known as Striving Readers) was added at the last minute as the Department had just been notified that Georgia has been awarded $20.5 million for the program.

Committee of the Whole 

A public hearing was scheduled for the proposed changes to State Board rule on Language Assistance but no one spoke.  The State Board created its consent agenda and received reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.

The graduation rate is now at 80.6%, the highest in maybe ever.  Fifty districts have a graduation rate over 90%.

Dr. Stephanie Johnson, Deputy Superintendent of the Office of School Improvement, provided a presentation on the data analysis her office has done and their action plan.  Superintendent Woods has asked the Education Turnaround Advisory Council to work with this Office and provide feedback.

Troup County reported on the LaGrange Industrial Fellowship for Teachers (LIFT) Program, an interesting community partnership linking teachers to business and skills students need.

State Board Meeting 

Almost all items were on the consent agenda which was adopted.  The Board separately adopted Rule 160-4-5-.02 Language Assistance:  Program for English Learners.

ESSA Plan and CCRPI Changes 

Georgia's state plan to implement ESSA was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18th.  As reported by various news outlets, the Governor requested changes to the plan that the Superintendent did not make.  Under the federal law, the Governor had to be given 30 days to review the plan but the plan does not require his signature.  He's not the first Governor not to sign his state's plan.  Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Maryland have had or are having very public disagreements.  Several of the plans that have been approved did not have the Governor's signature.

The letters between the two officials and the red-lined version of the plan showing the changes are online. Board Chair Mike Royal said several times that he believes it is a good plan but there are two big areas in which they are struggling to find consensus.

The two major areas of disagreement are testing/accountability for grades K-2 and changes made to the CCRPI.  These are fundamental, philosophical differences that will not be resolved in a quick public discussion, if there is a resolution.  State Board members expressed frustration since they are the policy-making body and complained about communication issues.  The Superintendent and his staff defended their choices.  Local boards and superintendents may have a feeling of "I've been there" at this discussion.  Everybody was polite and professional, they just disagreed.

Dr. Melissa Fincher did a presentation on the assessment/flexibility issue.  The Superintendent is forming an Assessment Task Force, including two State Board members, to continue to look at assessments and flexibility with them.  The Board Chair announced the Board would create its own working group made up of personnel from districts that are being innovative with assessments.  He felt that the Task Force of 33 members is too large to make hard decisions and is more of a "CYA committee with no offense meant to the Task Force members."  

The disagreement on the CCRPI goes to the inputs or outcomes argument.  Adding to the reluctance to include inputs such as enrollment in AP/IB courses was a report that a high school principal enrolled all the students in AP History to get the CCRPI points.  A comparison of the current CCRPI and that proposed in the plan can be found here.

This discussion will continue next month at the State Board Retreat.  The Board Chair said he has three "buckets" on the agenda:  assessments, CCRPI, and accreditation. 

The meeting closed with a focus on the good news this week on ACT and SAT scores, and the graduation rate.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 23-25 for a retreat.  

State Board Discusses ESSA and Holds Meetings
by Angela Palm on 9/29/2017

The State Board of Education completed its monthly meeting yesterday (Thursday).  Wednesday included meetings of the Rules Committee, District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee, Budget Committee, and Executive Session.  The Budget Committee reviewed all relevant items from the agenda of the Committee of the Whole. 

Yesterday the Board met in full, held its official meeting, and held a hearing on the McIntosh County Board of Education due to its accreditation status.  McIntosh's motion for a continuance was granted and the hearing was suspended until March 22nd.  The district will make monthly progress reports by the fifth of each month.

If your interest is just in the discussion on the state ESSA plan, scroll to the bottom. 

Rules Committee 

The Rules Committee reviewed the changes up for adoption this month to the rule on Language Assistance.  Staff said the minimum required by ESSA was put into rule.  Guidance will provide more direction to districts but the districts can go above the minimum in the rule.

Standards for World Language 3 were created at the request of districts that have students coming in having taken less commonly taught languages such as Farsi and Hindi in other countries. Students receiving credit in lieu of enrollment in a foreign language are not counted in the CCRPI calculation.

The Committee received a report by district on usage of the Teacher Resource Link (TRL).  Teachers in some districts are using it a lot more than others.  They also received a report on the impact of Hurricane Irma on schools.  Staff noted that many districts do not have back up generators and that power was off long enough in some places that the schools lost all the perishable food.  There was discussion as to whether districts had insurance coverage for that and they are working on finding that out.

Six SWSS districts did not include a waiver for the minimum school year so may need a waiver -- or amend their contract as two districts plan to do. 

District Flexibility Committee 

The Committee heard a report on the newly approved State Charter Schools.  Taliaferro County presented its case for switching from being a SWSS district to a charter system, the state's 43rd.  Contract amendments and charter grants were also reviewed.  Stewart and Twiggs were the school districts reporting to the Committee this month on their accountability results and plans to improve.

Budget Committee 

All their items include powerpoint slides with data if you want more information on any of them.  The Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in GA grant (formerly known as Striving Readers) was added at the last minute as the Department had just been notified that Georgia has been awarded $20.5 million for the program.

Committee of the Whole 

A public hearing was scheduled for the proposed changes to State Board rule on Language Assistance but no one spoke.  The State Board created its consent agenda and received reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.

The graduation rate is now at 80.6%, the highest in maybe ever.  Fifty districts have a graduation rate over 90%.

Dr. Stephanie Johnson, Deputy Superintendent of the Office of School Improvement, provided a presentation on the data analysis her office has done and their action plan.  Superintendent Woods has asked the Education Turnaround Advisory Council to work with this Office and provide feedback.

Troup County reported on the LaGrange Industrial Fellowship for Teachers (LIFT) Program, an interesting community partnership linking teachers to business and skills students need.

State Board Meeting 

Almost all items were on the consent agenda which was adopted.  The Board separately adopted Rule 160-4-5-.02 Language Assistance:  Program for English Learners.

ESSA Plan and CCRPI Changes 

Georgia's state plan to implement ESSA was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18th.  As reported by various news outlets, the Governor requested changes to the plan that the Superintendent did not make.  Under the federal law, the Governor had to be given 30 days to review the plan but the plan does not require his signature.  He's not the first Governor not to sign his state's plan.  Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Maryland have had or are having very public disagreements.  Several of the plans that have been approved did not have the Governor's signature.

The letters between the two officials and the red-lined version of the plan showing the changes are online. Board Chair Mike Royal said several times that he believes it is a good plan but there are two big areas in which they are struggling to find consensus.

The two major areas of disagreement are testing/accountability for grades K-2 and changes made to the CCRPI.  These are fundamental, philosophical differences that will not be resolved in a quick public discussion, if there is a resolution.  State Board members expressed frustration since they are the policy-making body and complained about communication issues.  The Superintendent and his staff defended their choices.  Local boards and superintendents may have a feeling of "I've been there" at this discussion.  Everybody was polite and professional, they just disagreed.

Dr. Melissa Fincher did a presentation on the assessment/flexibility issue.  The Superintendent is forming an Assessment Task Force, including two State Board members, to continue to look at assessments and flexibility with them.  The Board Chair announced the Board would create its own working group made up of personnel from districts that are being innovative with assessments.  He felt that the Task Force of 33 members is too large to make hard decisions and is more of a "CYA committee with no offense meant to the Task Force members."  

The disagreement on the CCRPI goes to the inputs or outcomes argument.  Adding to the reluctance to include inputs such as enrollment in AP/IB courses was a report that a high school principal enrolled all the students in AP History to get the CCRPI points.  A comparison of the current CCRPI and that proposed in the plan can be found here.

This discussion will continue next month at the State Board Retreat.  The Board Chair said he has three "buckets" on the agenda:  assessments, CCRPI, and accreditation. 

The meeting closed with a focus on the good news this week on ACT and SAT scores, and the graduation rate.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 23-25 for a retreat.  

09/29 - State Board Discusses ESSA and Holds Meetings

State Board Discusses ESSA and Holds Meetings
by Angela Palm on 9/29/2017

The State Board of Education completed its monthly meeting yesterday (Thursday).  Wednesday included meetings of the Rules Committee, District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee, Budget Committee, and Executive Session.  The Budget Committee reviewed all relevant items from the agenda of the Committee of the Whole. 

Yesterday the Board met in full, held its official meeting, and held a hearing on the McIntosh County Board of Education due to its accreditation status.  McIntosh's motion for a continuance was granted and the hearing was suspended until March 22nd.  The district will make monthly progress reports by the fifth of each month.

If your interest is just in the discussion on the state ESSA plan, scroll to the bottom. 

Rules Committee 

The Rules Committee reviewed the changes up for adoption this month to the rule on Language Assistance.  Staff said the minimum required by ESSA was put into rule.  Guidance will provide more direction to districts but the districts can go above the minimum in the rule.

Standards for World Language 3 were created at the request of districts that have students coming in having taken less commonly taught languages such as Farsi and Hindi in other countries. Students receiving credit in lieu of enrollment in a foreign language are not counted in the CCRPI calculation.

The Committee received a report by district on usage of the Teacher Resource Link (TRL).  Teachers in some districts are using it a lot more than others.  They also received a report on the impact of Hurricane Irma on schools.  Staff noted that many districts do not have back up generators and that power was off long enough in some places that the schools lost all the perishable food.  There was discussion as to whether districts had insurance coverage for that and they are working on finding that out.

Six SWSS districts did not include a waiver for the minimum school year so may need a waiver -- or amend their contract as two districts plan to do. 

District Flexibility Committee 

The Committee heard a report on the newly approved State Charter Schools.  Taliaferro County presented its case for switching from being a SWSS district to a charter system, the state's 43rd.  Contract amendments and charter grants were also reviewed.  Stewart and Twiggs were the school districts reporting to the Committee this month on their accountability results and plans to improve.

Budget Committee 

All their items include powerpoint slides with data if you want more information on any of them.  The Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in GA grant (formerly known as Striving Readers) was added at the last minute as the Department had just been notified that Georgia has been awarded $20.5 million for the program.

Committee of the Whole 

A public hearing was scheduled for the proposed changes to State Board rule on Language Assistance but no one spoke.  The State Board created its consent agenda and received reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.

The graduation rate is now at 80.6%, the highest in maybe ever.  Fifty districts have a graduation rate over 90%.

Dr. Stephanie Johnson, Deputy Superintendent of the Office of School Improvement, provided a presentation on the data analysis her office has done and their action plan.  Superintendent Woods has asked the Education Turnaround Advisory Council to work with this Office and provide feedback.

Troup County reported on the LaGrange Industrial Fellowship for Teachers (LIFT) Program, an interesting community partnership linking teachers to business and skills students need.

State Board Meeting 

Almost all items were on the consent agenda which was adopted.  The Board separately adopted Rule 160-4-5-.02 Language Assistance:  Program for English Learners.

ESSA Plan and CCRPI Changes 

Georgia's state plan to implement ESSA was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18th.  As reported by various news outlets, the Governor requested changes to the plan that the Superintendent did not make.  Under the federal law, the Governor had to be given 30 days to review the plan but the plan does not require his signature.  He's not the first Governor not to sign his state's plan.  Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Maryland have had or are having very public disagreements.  Several of the plans that have been approved did not have the Governor's signature.

The letters between the two officials and the red-lined version of the plan showing the changes are online. Board Chair Mike Royal said several times that he believes it is a good plan but there are two big areas in which they are struggling to find consensus.

The two major areas of disagreement are testing/accountability for grades K-2 and changes made to the CCRPI.  These are fundamental, philosophical differences that will not be resolved in a quick public discussion, if there is a resolution.  State Board members expressed frustration since they are the policy-making body and complained about communication issues.  The Superintendent and his staff defended their choices.  Local boards and superintendents may have a feeling of "I've been there" at this discussion.  Everybody was polite and professional, they just disagreed.

Dr. Melissa Fincher did a presentation on the assessment/flexibility issue.  The Superintendent is forming an Assessment Task Force, including two State Board members, to continue to look at assessments and flexibility with them.  The Board Chair announced the Board would create its own working group made up of personnel from districts that are being innovative with assessments.  He felt that the Task Force of 33 members is too large to make hard decisions and is more of a "CYA committee with no offense meant to the Task Force members."  

The disagreement on the CCRPI goes to the inputs or outcomes argument.  Adding to the reluctance to include inputs such as enrollment in AP/IB courses was a report that a high school principal enrolled all the students in AP History to get the CCRPI points.  A comparison of the current CCRPI and that proposed in the plan can be found here.

This discussion will continue next month at the State Board Retreat.  The Board Chair said he has three "buckets" on the agenda:  assessments, CCRPI, and accreditation. 

The meeting closed with a focus on the good news this week on ACT and SAT scores, and the graduation rate.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 23-25 for a retreat.  

State Board Discusses ESSA and Holds Meetings
by Angela Palm on 9/29/2017

The State Board of Education completed its monthly meeting yesterday (Thursday).  Wednesday included meetings of the Rules Committee, District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee, Budget Committee, and Executive Session.  The Budget Committee reviewed all relevant items from the agenda of the Committee of the Whole. 

Yesterday the Board met in full, held its official meeting, and held a hearing on the McIntosh County Board of Education due to its accreditation status.  McIntosh's motion for a continuance was granted and the hearing was suspended until March 22nd.  The district will make monthly progress reports by the fifth of each month.

If your interest is just in the discussion on the state ESSA plan, scroll to the bottom. 

Rules Committee 

The Rules Committee reviewed the changes up for adoption this month to the rule on Language Assistance.  Staff said the minimum required by ESSA was put into rule.  Guidance will provide more direction to districts but the districts can go above the minimum in the rule.

Standards for World Language 3 were created at the request of districts that have students coming in having taken less commonly taught languages such as Farsi and Hindi in other countries. Students receiving credit in lieu of enrollment in a foreign language are not counted in the CCRPI calculation.

The Committee received a report by district on usage of the Teacher Resource Link (TRL).  Teachers in some districts are using it a lot more than others.  They also received a report on the impact of Hurricane Irma on schools.  Staff noted that many districts do not have back up generators and that power was off long enough in some places that the schools lost all the perishable food.  There was discussion as to whether districts had insurance coverage for that and they are working on finding that out.

Six SWSS districts did not include a waiver for the minimum school year so may need a waiver -- or amend their contract as two districts plan to do. 

District Flexibility Committee 

The Committee heard a report on the newly approved State Charter Schools.  Taliaferro County presented its case for switching from being a SWSS district to a charter system, the state's 43rd.  Contract amendments and charter grants were also reviewed.  Stewart and Twiggs were the school districts reporting to the Committee this month on their accountability results and plans to improve.

Budget Committee 

All their items include powerpoint slides with data if you want more information on any of them.  The Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading in GA grant (formerly known as Striving Readers) was added at the last minute as the Department had just been notified that Georgia has been awarded $20.5 million for the program.

Committee of the Whole 

A public hearing was scheduled for the proposed changes to State Board rule on Language Assistance but no one spoke.  The State Board created its consent agenda and received reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.

The graduation rate is now at 80.6%, the highest in maybe ever.  Fifty districts have a graduation rate over 90%.

Dr. Stephanie Johnson, Deputy Superintendent of the Office of School Improvement, provided a presentation on the data analysis her office has done and their action plan.  Superintendent Woods has asked the Education Turnaround Advisory Council to work with this Office and provide feedback.

Troup County reported on the LaGrange Industrial Fellowship for Teachers (LIFT) Program, an interesting community partnership linking teachers to business and skills students need.

State Board Meeting 

Almost all items were on the consent agenda which was adopted.  The Board separately adopted Rule 160-4-5-.02 Language Assistance:  Program for English Learners.

ESSA Plan and CCRPI Changes 

Georgia's state plan to implement ESSA was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18th.  As reported by various news outlets, the Governor requested changes to the plan that the Superintendent did not make.  Under the federal law, the Governor had to be given 30 days to review the plan but the plan does not require his signature.  He's not the first Governor not to sign his state's plan.  Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Maryland have had or are having very public disagreements.  Several of the plans that have been approved did not have the Governor's signature.

The letters between the two officials and the red-lined version of the plan showing the changes are online. Board Chair Mike Royal said several times that he believes it is a good plan but there are two big areas in which they are struggling to find consensus.

The two major areas of disagreement are testing/accountability for grades K-2 and changes made to the CCRPI.  These are fundamental, philosophical differences that will not be resolved in a quick public discussion, if there is a resolution.  State Board members expressed frustration since they are the policy-making body and complained about communication issues.  The Superintendent and his staff defended their choices.  Local boards and superintendents may have a feeling of "I've been there" at this discussion.  Everybody was polite and professional, they just disagreed.

Dr. Melissa Fincher did a presentation on the assessment/flexibility issue.  The Superintendent is forming an Assessment Task Force, including two State Board members, to continue to look at assessments and flexibility with them.  The Board Chair announced the Board would create its own working group made up of personnel from districts that are being innovative with assessments.  He felt that the Task Force of 33 members is too large to make hard decisions and is more of a "CYA committee with no offense meant to the Task Force members."  

The disagreement on the CCRPI goes to the inputs or outcomes argument.  Adding to the reluctance to include inputs such as enrollment in AP/IB courses was a report that a high school principal enrolled all the students in AP History to get the CCRPI points.  A comparison of the current CCRPI and that proposed in the plan can be found here.

This discussion will continue next month at the State Board Retreat.  The Board Chair said he has three "buckets" on the agenda:  assessments, CCRPI, and accreditation. 

The meeting closed with a focus on the good news this week on ACT and SAT scores, and the graduation rate.

The next meeting is scheduled for October 23-25 for a retreat.  

08/25 - August State Board Report

August State Board Report
by Angela Palm on 8/25/2017

The State Board of Education finished its two-day meeting Thursday, August 24th.  On Wednesday, five Committees of the Board met.  

The Audit Committee discussed the school districts and state charters that are considered high risk based on timely financial statements, audit findings, and other factors.

The Rules Committee reviewed proposed rule changes up for adoption, proposed changes to the school bus specifications, and discussed two portions of the state ESSA plan.  The bus specifications have not been changed since 2010 so appropriate district personnel might want to review the proposal or at least review the summary of changes.


The Committee also discussed proposed changes to the Testing Programs - Student Assessment rule.  One of the changes would reduce testing for students in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.  The course grade would be used in lieu of the end of course test (EOCT) so that students do not have to take the EOCT and the AP or IB exam.  The Governor's Office of Student Achievement disagreed with the change since grading differs from one teacher to another and there should be consistency in the elements of the accountability system.  There was no resolution in the meeting as this topic was for discussion only.

The District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee reviewed proposed amendments to district contracts and the updates to the charter rules.  Dr. Bonnie Holliday, Executive Director of the State Charter Schools Commission, gave an update on the current petition cycle.  Of the 12 petitions received, two will be recommended for approval.  Five withdrew after the interview process and two did not meet the legal requirements. The Commission has averaged an approval rate of 20%-25%.  There have been a lack of quality petitions. 

The bulk of the time was spent on a discussion on the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) and district improvement plan (DIP) sent out this year for the first time.  Dan Weber, Executive Director of the Charter Systems Foundation, discussed the issues he saw with the plans and the legal authority to require that districts complete them.  He made recommendations for changes based on feedback from some districts.  Department personnel explained the state's rationale and efforts they have made to address the problems.  Both sides will continue the discussion.

The Budget Committeee pulled one item from the agenda.  Title V, Part B, Rural and Low-Income Schools Allocations was pulled as no information has been received from Washington as to the amount. The Committee reviewed most of the budget items on the agenda. The budget request for amended FY '18 and '19 did not receive much discussion as it contains few changes in accordance with the budget instructions.  The proposed mid-term adjustment is $115.8 million in the amended budget.  FY '19 includes a $25 million increase in equalization, a $35 million increase to the local five mill share deduction, and a total of $445 million in increases to QBE.  The austerity reduction would rise $2.6 million to $169,388,279.

The First Priority Act Committee received an update from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) on the search for a Chief Turnaround Officer. The application period closed August 18th.  They received 58 applications with at least 20 being identified as top tier.  This group will be screened by phone in a 20 minute call with one State Board member and on member of the Turnaround Advisory Council on the call with NASBE.  

That group will be narrowed down to around 5-8 candidates.  An in-depth screening call will be done with NASBE, three State Board members, and three members of the Turnaround Advisory Council.  At its last meeting, the Council chose Dr. Allene Magill, Executive Director of PAGE; Kim Evans, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA in Augusta, named to the Council by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle; and Lex Rainey, former Superintendent in Gilmer County, named to the Council by Speaker of the House David Ralston. 

The second screening call will determine who will be interviewed in person.  They anticipate having the CTO named by the end of October.

Committee of the Whole Meeting 

On Thursday, the State Board met as a Committee of the Whole to develop the consent agenda for the Board meeting and to hear reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.  Time was allotted for public hearings on the seven rules up for adoption but no one spoke.

The Superintendent's Report included eight presentations, but only a few will be highlighted here.  Apparently complaints about the AP curriculum are not over.  The first presentation was from Ken Craft, a citizen who frequently testified against Common core and AP History a few years ago.  This time he seemed to oppose all the AP courses with his powerpoint titled "AP Invasion."  Among other things he said, "too much of our education is teaching kids to hate America."

On a happier note, Supt. Woods awarded the Superintendent's Impact Award to Rep. Dave Belton for his work on legislation for military families. 

Diane Hopkins presented information on the Assessment Inventory Project the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education is doing with the Department. 

The Chair's Report included information from Martha Ann Todd, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, on the words2reading initiative which promotes early learning and literacy.  Former Rep. Ben Harbin introduced the Board to RoboKind and its robot Milo, a tool to teach social skills to children with autism.

In its State Board meeting, all the proposed rules were adopted in separate votes.  They also approved posting the school bus specifications mentioned above.

The Board Chair announced McIntosh County Board of Education will be served a notice for a hearing before the State Board on September 28th due to its accreditation status.

Following the Board meeting, the State Board reconvened the suspension hearing of the Hancock Board of Education. After receiving their latest AdvancEd report which returned Hancock to accredited status rather than accredited under review, the Board voted to recommend to the Governor that he not suspend the Hancock Board.  The Chair noted that 178 districts have signed contracts with the state and that is a much better way to handle accountability for local boards rather than the "nuclear option" of removal.  They will continue to look at and hold Hancock accountable for its contract.

The next State Board meeting will be September 27-28. 

August State Board Report
by Angela Palm on 8/25/2017

The State Board of Education finished its two-day meeting Thursday, August 24th.  On Wednesday, five Committees of the Board met.  

The Audit Committee discussed the school districts and state charters that are considered high risk based on timely financial statements, audit findings, and other factors.

The Rules Committee reviewed proposed rule changes up for adoption, proposed changes to the school bus specifications, and discussed two portions of the state ESSA plan.  The bus specifications have not been changed since 2010 so appropriate district personnel might want to review the proposal or at least review the summary of changes.


The Committee also discussed proposed changes to the Testing Programs - Student Assessment rule.  One of the changes would reduce testing for students in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.  The course grade would be used in lieu of the end of course test (EOCT) so that students do not have to take the EOCT and the AP or IB exam.  The Governor's Office of Student Achievement disagreed with the change since grading differs from one teacher to another and there should be consistency in the elements of the accountability system.  There was no resolution in the meeting as this topic was for discussion only.

The District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee reviewed proposed amendments to district contracts and the updates to the charter rules.  Dr. Bonnie Holliday, Executive Director of the State Charter Schools Commission, gave an update on the current petition cycle.  Of the 12 petitions received, two will be recommended for approval.  Five withdrew after the interview process and two did not meet the legal requirements. The Commission has averaged an approval rate of 20%-25%.  There have been a lack of quality petitions. 

The bulk of the time was spent on a discussion on the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) and district improvement plan (DIP) sent out this year for the first time.  Dan Weber, Executive Director of the Charter Systems Foundation, discussed the issues he saw with the plans and the legal authority to require that districts complete them.  He made recommendations for changes based on feedback from some districts.  Department personnel explained the state's rationale and efforts they have made to address the problems.  Both sides will continue the discussion.

The Budget Committeee pulled one item from the agenda.  Title V, Part B, Rural and Low-Income Schools Allocations was pulled as no information has been received from Washington as to the amount. The Committee reviewed most of the budget items on the agenda. The budget request for amended FY '18 and '19 did not receive much discussion as it contains few changes in accordance with the budget instructions.  The proposed mid-term adjustment is $115.8 million in the amended budget.  FY '19 includes a $25 million increase in equalization, a $35 million increase to the local five mill share deduction, and a total of $445 million in increases to QBE.  The austerity reduction would rise $2.6 million to $169,388,279.

The First Priority Act Committee received an update from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) on the search for a Chief Turnaround Officer. The application period closed August 18th.  They received 58 applications with at least 20 being identified as top tier.  This group will be screened by phone in a 20 minute call with one State Board member and on member of the Turnaround Advisory Council on the call with NASBE.  

That group will be narrowed down to around 5-8 candidates.  An in-depth screening call will be done with NASBE, three State Board members, and three members of the Turnaround Advisory Council.  At its last meeting, the Council chose Dr. Allene Magill, Executive Director of PAGE; Kim Evans, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA in Augusta, named to the Council by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle; and Lex Rainey, former Superintendent in Gilmer County, named to the Council by Speaker of the House David Ralston. 

The second screening call will determine who will be interviewed in person.  They anticipate having the CTO named by the end of October.

Committee of the Whole Meeting 

On Thursday, the State Board met as a Committee of the Whole to develop the consent agenda for the Board meeting and to hear reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.  Time was allotted for public hearings on the seven rules up for adoption but no one spoke.

The Superintendent's Report included eight presentations, but only a few will be highlighted here.  Apparently complaints about the AP curriculum are not over.  The first presentation was from Ken Craft, a citizen who frequently testified against Common core and AP History a few years ago.  This time he seemed to oppose all the AP courses with his powerpoint titled "AP Invasion."  Among other things he said, "too much of our education is teaching kids to hate America."

On a happier note, Supt. Woods awarded the Superintendent's Impact Award to Rep. Dave Belton for his work on legislation for military families. 

Diane Hopkins presented information on the Assessment Inventory Project the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education is doing with the Department. 

The Chair's Report included information from Martha Ann Todd, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, on the words2reading initiative which promotes early learning and literacy.  Former Rep. Ben Harbin introduced the Board to RoboKind and its robot Milo, a tool to teach social skills to children with autism.

In its State Board meeting, all the proposed rules were adopted in separate votes.  They also approved posting the school bus specifications mentioned above.

The Board Chair announced McIntosh County Board of Education will be served a notice for a hearing before the State Board on September 28th due to its accreditation status.

Following the Board meeting, the State Board reconvened the suspension hearing of the Hancock Board of Education. After receiving their latest AdvancEd report which returned Hancock to accredited status rather than accredited under review, the Board voted to recommend to the Governor that he not suspend the Hancock Board.  The Chair noted that 178 districts have signed contracts with the state and that is a much better way to handle accountability for local boards rather than the "nuclear option" of removal.  They will continue to look at and hold Hancock accountable for its contract.

The next State Board meeting will be September 27-28. 

08/25 - August State Board Report

August State Board Report
by Angela Palm on 8/25/2017

The State Board of Education finished its two-day meeting Thursday, August 24th.  On Wednesday, five Committees of the Board met.  

The Audit Committee discussed the school districts and state charters that are considered high risk based on timely financial statements, audit findings, and other factors.

The Rules Committee reviewed proposed rule changes up for adoption, proposed changes to the school bus specifications, and discussed two portions of the state ESSA plan.  The bus specifications have not been changed since 2010 so appropriate district personnel might want to review the proposal or at least review the summary of changes.


The Committee also discussed proposed changes to the Testing Programs - Student Assessment rule.  One of the changes would reduce testing for students in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.  The course grade would be used in lieu of the end of course test (EOCT) so that students do not have to take the EOCT and the AP or IB exam.  The Governor's Office of Student Achievement disagreed with the change since grading differs from one teacher to another and there should be consistency in the elements of the accountability system.  There was no resolution in the meeting as this topic was for discussion only.

The District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee reviewed proposed amendments to district contracts and the updates to the charter rules.  Dr. Bonnie Holliday, Executive Director of the State Charter Schools Commission, gave an update on the current petition cycle.  Of the 12 petitions received, two will be recommended for approval.  Five withdrew after the interview process and two did not meet the legal requirements. The Commission has averaged an approval rate of 20%-25%.  There have been a lack of quality petitions. 

The bulk of the time was spent on a discussion on the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) and district improvement plan (DIP) sent out this year for the first time.  Dan Weber, Executive Director of the Charter Systems Foundation, discussed the issues he saw with the plans and the legal authority to require that districts complete them.  He made recommendations for changes based on feedback from some districts.  Department personnel explained the state's rationale and efforts they have made to address the problems.  Both sides will continue the discussion.

The Budget Committeee pulled one item from the agenda.  Title V, Part B, Rural and Low-Income Schools Allocations was pulled as no information has been received from Washington as to the amount. The Committee reviewed most of the budget items on the agenda. The budget request for amended FY '18 and '19 did not receive much discussion as it contains few changes in accordance with the budget instructions.  The proposed mid-term adjustment is $115.8 million in the amended budget.  FY '19 includes a $25 million increase in equalization, a $35 million increase to the local five mill share deduction, and a total of $445 million in increases to QBE.  The austerity reduction would rise $2.6 million to $169,388,279.

The First Priority Act Committee received an update from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) on the search for a Chief Turnaround Officer. The application period closed August 18th.  They received 58 applications with at least 20 being identified as top tier.  This group will be screened by phone in a 20 minute call with one State Board member and on member of the Turnaround Advisory Council on the call with NASBE.  

That group will be narrowed down to around 5-8 candidates.  An in-depth screening call will be done with NASBE, three State Board members, and three members of the Turnaround Advisory Council.  At its last meeting, the Council chose Dr. Allene Magill, Executive Director of PAGE; Kim Evans, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA in Augusta, named to the Council by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle; and Lex Rainey, former Superintendent in Gilmer County, named to the Council by Speaker of the House David Ralston. 

The second screening call will determine who will be interviewed in person.  They anticipate having the CTO named by the end of October.

Committee of the Whole Meeting 

On Thursday, the State Board met as a Committee of the Whole to develop the consent agenda for the Board meeting and to hear reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.  Time was allotted for public hearings on the seven rules up for adoption but no one spoke.

The Superintendent's Report included eight presentations, but only a few will be highlighted here.  Apparently complaints about the AP curriculum are not over.  The first presentation was from Ken Craft, a citizen who frequently testified against Common core and AP History a few years ago.  This time he seemed to oppose all the AP courses with his powerpoint titled "AP Invasion."  Among other things he said, "too much of our education is teaching kids to hate America."

On a happier note, Supt. Woods awarded the Superintendent's Impact Award to Rep. Dave Belton for his work on legislation for military families. 

Diane Hopkins presented information on the Assessment Inventory Project the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education is doing with the Department. 

The Chair's Report included information from Martha Ann Todd, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, on the words2reading initiative which promotes early learning and literacy.  Former Rep. Ben Harbin introduced the Board to RoboKind and its robot Milo, a tool to teach social skills to children with autism.

In its State Board meeting, all the proposed rules were adopted in separate votes.  They also approved posting the school bus specifications mentioned above.

The Board Chair announced McIntosh County Board of Education will be served a notice for a hearing before the State Board on September 28th due to its accreditation status.

Following the Board meeting, the State Board reconvened the suspension hearing of the Hancock Board of Education. After receiving their latest AdvancEd report which returned Hancock to accredited status rather than accredited under review, the Board voted to recommend to the Governor that he not suspend the Hancock Board.  The Chair noted that 178 districts have signed contracts with the state and that is a much better way to handle accountability for local boards rather than the "nuclear option" of removal.  They will continue to look at and hold Hancock accountable for its contract.

The next State Board meeting will be September 27-28. 

August State Board Report
by Angela Palm on 8/25/2017

The State Board of Education finished its two-day meeting Thursday, August 24th.  On Wednesday, five Committees of the Board met.  

The Audit Committee discussed the school districts and state charters that are considered high risk based on timely financial statements, audit findings, and other factors.

The Rules Committee reviewed proposed rule changes up for adoption, proposed changes to the school bus specifications, and discussed two portions of the state ESSA plan.  The bus specifications have not been changed since 2010 so appropriate district personnel might want to review the proposal or at least review the summary of changes.


The Committee also discussed proposed changes to the Testing Programs - Student Assessment rule.  One of the changes would reduce testing for students in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.  The course grade would be used in lieu of the end of course test (EOCT) so that students do not have to take the EOCT and the AP or IB exam.  The Governor's Office of Student Achievement disagreed with the change since grading differs from one teacher to another and there should be consistency in the elements of the accountability system.  There was no resolution in the meeting as this topic was for discussion only.

The District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee reviewed proposed amendments to district contracts and the updates to the charter rules.  Dr. Bonnie Holliday, Executive Director of the State Charter Schools Commission, gave an update on the current petition cycle.  Of the 12 petitions received, two will be recommended for approval.  Five withdrew after the interview process and two did not meet the legal requirements. The Commission has averaged an approval rate of 20%-25%.  There have been a lack of quality petitions. 

The bulk of the time was spent on a discussion on the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) and district improvement plan (DIP) sent out this year for the first time.  Dan Weber, Executive Director of the Charter Systems Foundation, discussed the issues he saw with the plans and the legal authority to require that districts complete them.  He made recommendations for changes based on feedback from some districts.  Department personnel explained the state's rationale and efforts they have made to address the problems.  Both sides will continue the discussion.

The Budget Committeee pulled one item from the agenda.  Title V, Part B, Rural and Low-Income Schools Allocations was pulled as no information has been received from Washington as to the amount. The Committee reviewed most of the budget items on the agenda. The budget request for amended FY '18 and '19 did not receive much discussion as it contains few changes in accordance with the budget instructions.  The proposed mid-term adjustment is $115.8 million in the amended budget.  FY '19 includes a $25 million increase in equalization, a $35 million increase to the local five mill share deduction, and a total of $445 million in increases to QBE.  The austerity reduction would rise $2.6 million to $169,388,279.

The First Priority Act Committee received an update from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) on the search for a Chief Turnaround Officer. The application period closed August 18th.  They received 58 applications with at least 20 being identified as top tier.  This group will be screened by phone in a 20 minute call with one State Board member and on member of the Turnaround Advisory Council on the call with NASBE.  

That group will be narrowed down to around 5-8 candidates.  An in-depth screening call will be done with NASBE, three State Board members, and three members of the Turnaround Advisory Council.  At its last meeting, the Council chose Dr. Allene Magill, Executive Director of PAGE; Kim Evans, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA in Augusta, named to the Council by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle; and Lex Rainey, former Superintendent in Gilmer County, named to the Council by Speaker of the House David Ralston. 

The second screening call will determine who will be interviewed in person.  They anticipate having the CTO named by the end of October.

Committee of the Whole Meeting 

On Thursday, the State Board met as a Committee of the Whole to develop the consent agenda for the Board meeting and to hear reports from the Superintendent and Board Chair.  Time was allotted for public hearings on the seven rules up for adoption but no one spoke.

The Superintendent's Report included eight presentations, but only a few will be highlighted here.  Apparently complaints about the AP curriculum are not over.  The first presentation was from Ken Craft, a citizen who frequently testified against Common core and AP History a few years ago.  This time he seemed to oppose all the AP courses with his powerpoint titled "AP Invasion."  Among other things he said, "too much of our education is teaching kids to hate America."

On a happier note, Supt. Woods awarded the Superintendent's Impact Award to Rep. Dave Belton for his work on legislation for military families. 

Diane Hopkins presented information on the Assessment Inventory Project the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education is doing with the Department. 

The Chair's Report included information from Martha Ann Todd, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, on the words2reading initiative which promotes early learning and literacy.  Former Rep. Ben Harbin introduced the Board to RoboKind and its robot Milo, a tool to teach social skills to children with autism.

In its State Board meeting, all the proposed rules were adopted in separate votes.  They also approved posting the school bus specifications mentioned above.

The Board Chair announced McIntosh County Board of Education will be served a notice for a hearing before the State Board on September 28th due to its accreditation status.

Following the Board meeting, the State Board reconvened the suspension hearing of the Hancock Board of Education. After receiving their latest AdvancEd report which returned Hancock to accredited status rather than accredited under review, the Board voted to recommend to the Governor that he not suspend the Hancock Board.  The Chair noted that 178 districts have signed contracts with the state and that is a much better way to handle accountability for local boards rather than the "nuclear option" of removal.  They will continue to look at and hold Hancock accountable for its contract.

The next State Board meeting will be September 27-28.