Archive for December, 2009

Avondale gets one of the new charter schools; focus on interactive learning

Longtime Get Schooled readers remember Patti Ghezzi, the originator of this blog and a wonderful colleague of mine for many years. Patti is still working on education issues and has been involved with one of the seven charter school applicants approved this week by the state.

Here is a release by Patti on the new charter school coming to Avondale Estates.

The Georgia Charter Schools Commission approved Monday a public charter school to serve Avondale Estates and surrounding communities.

The Museum School of Avondale Estates will open in August 2010 for children in kindergarten through third grade who live in the Avondale Elementary and Midway Elementary school attendance zones. The school will expand by one grade each year through eighth grade.

Open houses will be held Tuesday, January 12 at 7 p.m. and January 28 at 10:00 a.m. at Avondale Estates City Hall, located at 21 North Avondale Plaza, Avondale Estates. A third open house will be held in January at a date and location …

Continue reading Avondale gets one of the new charter schools; focus on interactive learning »

Seven new charter schools on their way. Is this a good thing?

The Georgia Charter Schools Commission – the body empowered by the Legislature to overrule local school boards and approve charter schools – gave its blessing to seven new schools, according to the AJC.

That pushes the total of state commission approved charter schools to nine. (Whether the state can legally approve charters and apportion them local monies – by a legislative sleight of hand – will be thrashed out in a pending lawsuit by miffed school districts. If the local systems win in court, it will be interesting to see what happens to these state approved charters if and when their local money disappears.)

However, the commission denied 21 other petitioners because their applications failed to meet standards, present a viable academic plan or because commissioners worried there was insufficient expertise or community support for the school.

The latest approvals went to: Atlanta Heights Charter School, which would draw Atlanta Public Schools; Peachtree Hope Charter School …

Continue reading Seven new charter schools on their way. Is this a good thing? »

Mondays with Arne: Consensus and conversation with Georgia educrats

Just returned from Part 1 of U.S. Education Secretary Arnie Duncan’s  listen and learn whistle stop in Atlanta where he met with 20 representatives from education, state agencies, nonprofits and the business community at Tech High, an APS charter school in the shadow of the Gold Dome.

(The superintendents of Atlanta, Clayton, Decatur and Gwinnett were among the guests, as were a few top teachers and principals.)

Among the clear themes of the hour-plus discussion:

National standards are coming. All the speakers want them. Duncan said the problem would be selling the standards, noting that the conventional wisdom in Washington has been,  “Republicans don’t like  national and Democrats don’t like standards.” He said he can only be a cheerleader in this contest; it will fall to states to champion the standards.

Seated at his side was U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who said the greatest obstacles to passing No Child Left Behind, of which he was a sponsor, were the national …

Continue reading Mondays with Arne: Consensus and conversation with Georgia educrats »

“Super” seniors denied HOPE for extra semester. Is it fair?

Morning folks,

I am running this op-ed on the Monday education page in the AJC. It is by a UGA “super” senior.

While I don’t think we are going to see any expansion of the HOPE Scholarship this year or in the near future, I think she makes good points. Enjoy the piece and let’s discuss. I think this is a big issue at Georgia Tech where kids often go longer than four years.

(Monday morning 8:22: By the way, Amanda has come onto the blog to respond to some of the critical comments to her piece. Thanks, Amanda, for taking on the critics.

And to the critics, let’s keep this discussion civil.  I know that most of us are used to the wild west nature of the online world, but this may well be Amanda’s first foray. She may never come back again. Maureen.)

Please read her entry.

By Amanda Hammons

I am a “super-senior” at the University of Georgia.

The HOPE Scholarship has provided the resources necessary to maximize my college experience and allowed me to soak in the five-star …

Continue reading “Super” seniors denied HOPE for extra semester. Is it fair? »

A balancing act in Cobb: Nation’s top schools and their calendars

The AJC reported that Cobb cleared its principals of allegations they pressured teachers into endorsing the new balanced calendar.

Still, some parents remain concerned about the move to a balanced calendar and its ramifications. Along with the slight shrinkage of summer, they don’t like the week-long breaks in September and February, on top of vacation weeks for holidays and spring break. Other parents like the flexibility of off-season vacations.

A parent from another metro district moving to a “balanced calendar” sent me this piece of research and a brief summation at the end. He looked up the school calendars for the 10 high schools that made Newsweek’s annual best high schools list. (Please note that he only shows eight systems as the Duval and Dallas school systems each had two high schools in the top 10 list.)

What Newsweek’s Top 10 high schools and their systems do:

Basis Charter, AZ: Aug 10 – May 21, Break days 26, 1×2wk, others 1-3 days

Dallas ISD, TX: Aug 24 – …

Continue reading A balancing act in Cobb: Nation’s top schools and their calendars »

Arne Duncan coming to two APS high schools today to listen and learn

FYI: From US DOE:

I hope to go, listen and learn and then tell you about it.

U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION DUNCAN TO VISIT TWO LOCAL ATLANTA HIGH SCHOOLS MONDAY
Duncan to convene Listening and Learning Session with Sen. Isakson and continue discussion on violence prevention in schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will visit two Atlanta high schools on Monday, Dec. 14. At 10 a.m. EST, he will join U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) to convene a Listening and Learning session at Atlanta Tech High School, 1043 Memorial Drive, S.E. A press availability will follow at 11 a.m. EST. Duncan will then visit Grady High School, 929 Charles Allen Drive, N.E., for a policy discussion roundtable on the Promise Neighborhood initiative and effective violence prevention strategies as part of the National Conversation on the Future of Cities and Metropolitan Areas directed by The White House Office of Urban Affairs. At 1 p.m. EST, he will tour the school with White House Urban Affairs …

Continue reading Arne Duncan coming to two APS high schools today to listen and learn »

Nearly 11,000 seek early admission to UGA: 6,000 find out today that they made the

Having gone through this twice in the last four years, I know parents and teens are anxious about getting into UGA. Congratulations to those who are admitted to UGA early action. To those who don’t get good news this afternoon, let’s hope for a better outcome in a few months.

From UGA:

For some 6,000 high school seniors, the holidays will be off to a happy start when they learn they have been offered early admission to the University of Georgia. Those who applied for “early-action” admission to UGA will learn their status when decision letters arrive by mail starting next week

But those who don’t want to wait can get the news online after 4:30 p.m. by using the password-protected status check on the admissions office Website.

The admissions office received some 10,600 early-action applications this year. Many of the applicants not offered admission at this point will learn that a final decision has not yet been made. They are asked to submit additional information by the …

Continue reading Nearly 11,000 seek early admission to UGA: 6,000 find out today that they made the »

US News & World Report rolls out best high school list; few metro schools

At this rate, I will have to share my vast Get Schooled fortune — it’s all in pencils — with Ernest, who alerted me to the release of the US News & World Report best high schools list:

Maureen:

Per the subject, this is hot off the presses. Redan High School was the only DeKalb County High School to make the US News list. I saw one in Cobb (Marietta), 2 in Gwinnett (Central Gwinnett and Norcross) and 2 in Rockdale (Heritage and Rockdale County) from the metro area on the list. Ernest

The only Georgia high school to make the Top 100 Gold Medal list of overall best schools – coming in at No. 100 — is John S. Davisdon Fine Arts School, Augusta.

Georgia appears more frequently in lesser categories, For instance, Norcross and Calhoun high schools earn silver medals for their IB programs.

Among the high schools somewhere on various lists (There is a decided absence of metro schools for some reason.):

Continue reading US News & World Report rolls out best high school list; few metro schools »

School bus driver implores: Stop endangering kids

The AJC received a moving letter from a school bus driver in the wake of the death of a 5-year-old girl Wednesday in Cobb as she exited a school bus. (Here is the AJC story.)

The mother of Karla Campos, Gloria Valazquez (left) is comforted by the child's aunt, Rena Hernandez (right) at the corner of Davis Road and Aberdeen Court Thursday at the scene of Wednesday's tragedy where a roadside memorial was set up. Johnk Spink/AJC Photo

The mother of Karla Campos, Gloria Valazquez (left), is comforted by the child's aunt, Rena Hernandez (right), at the corner of Davis Road and Aberdeen Court Thursday at the scene of Wednesday's tragedy. Johnk Spink/AJC Photo

Little Karla Campos was let off the bus at a curb, but a car behind the bus continued to the right of the bus, running onto the curb and into the grass, police said. Police blame driver error; the 82-year-old driver hit the gas rather than the brake.

While this case certainly raises the issue of when older people should stop driving, I  see people fly through the yellow light in front of my children’s school. Sometimes, they are parents rushing to drop off their own children. I don’t understand why they think saving a minute is worth the risk of running down a child.

Slow down so …

Continue reading School bus driver implores: Stop endangering kids »

Kathy Ashe: Could support vouchers if private schools agreed to testing

Among the surprises at a panel Thursday morning of influential legislators on the House Education Committee was this statement from the grand dame of education reform and longtime House member, Atlanta Democrat Kathy Ashe:

“I would vote for a voucher bill if the receiving school is willing to give their students the assessments that students are required to take in public schools. If you agree to take the public dollars, you are going to have to take the tests.”

Now, Rep. Kathy Ashe (D-Atlanta) may feel quite safe in making that statement – a departure from the Democratic position against vouchers — because she knows that private schools have resisted any attempt to impose state accountability testing on them. Most do not want to give the CRCT, which they feel puts them under the thumb of the state curriculum.

Seated to Ashe’s right at the panel was fellow Democrat Alisha Thomas Morgan of Austell, who also endorses choice and vouchers.  Morgan agreed with Ashe that any …

Continue reading Kathy Ashe: Could support vouchers if private schools agreed to testing »