Archive for October, 2011

For your Halloween pleasure: Teacher zombies in Roswell

This video of Roswell High School teachers dancing to “Thriller” in flash mob fashion during a pep rally is fun. I showed it to my husband, and he assumed that the Zombie dancers were all students.  That either speaks to how old he is or how youthful and winsome Roswell teachers are. (I vote for the latter.)

The reader who shared this Oct, 28 video said, “The students loved it and it was the highlight of the pep rally.”

Enjoy. I am going back to cajoling my kids to share their Halloween Almond Joys. –Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

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Fulton County is seeking criminal prosecutions of APS educators

I understand that investigators for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office have been interviewing Atlanta educators this month for possible criminal prosecutions in the CRCT cheating scandal.

I was told that the investigators are telling witnesses that prosecutions are possible, regardless of whether educators still work for APS.  The investigators are asking for detailed accounts of what happened during the 2009 CRCT, including actions of principals and assistant principals.

Those reports make sense now in view of the AJC story today that Howard has asked the PSC, the state agency that licenses teachers, to suspend hearings for educators accused in the scandal. Howard contends that the PSC hearings could impede his criminal investigation.

According to the AJC:

Earlier this month, the PSC voted to revoke the teaching certificates of three administrators and to impose two-year suspensions on eight teachers. Some of the educators were from Parks Middle School, cited by …

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AJC wants to talk to Tech students and parents about safety

With another mugging of a Georgia Tech student Sunday night, that campus seems a target for crime. AJC news writer Bo Emerson is looking to speak now to Tech parents and Tech students. Please contact him via e-mail or call him at 404 526-5445.

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Are online courses a way to reach the disaffected and disengaged?

The AJC has an interesting story about a Cobb alternative school managed by a private company, Ombudsman Educational Services.

Oakwood Digital Academy provides a second chance at a diploma to high school students who are off track. The school provides flexibility because it offers self-directed online courses. The students must attend school each day for three hours, but they have three blocks of time from which to choose, allowing them to juggle work and classes.

It appears the self-directed study and flexible scheduling are an appealing combo. The school has 150 kids on its waiting list. But Oakwood also has a grad rate of 40 percent, which it blames on the fact that its students arrive far behind and have to play catch-up.

According to the AJC:

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa understands the argument. Transferring students do “partially” affect the school’s numbers, he said. “But that’s still no excuse.” He said he’ll be watching for improvement. The multi-year …

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A terrifying pumpkin to Florida fans, but guaranteed to thrill UGA fans

pumkinA former co-worker posted this on her Facebook page — it’s the handiwork of a serious and talented UGA fan.

I know this is not a sports blog but I could not resist this clever creation.

Enjoy. Maureen

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In South Korea, raids on late-night study groups to counter ‘educational masochism’

UGA professor Peter Smagorinsky sent me this note about an article from Time magazine that I thought was worth sharing:

Though South Korean children score among the highest in the world on standardized reading and math tests, their success comes at a price, according to an October Time magazine dispatch. They supposedly suffer “educational masochism”– punishing themselves by overstudy, especially in high school preparing for university admissions tests (a process so competitive that even test-coaching schools are picky about accepting students).

Earlier this year, to curb the “masochism,” the government began enforcing a 10 p.m.curfew on coaching-school activities, and in Seoul, a six-man team conducts nightly after-hours raids on classes that run late-night sessions behind shuttered windows.  (Ironically, Time acknowledged, American educational reformers want U.S. students to study harder, like Asians do, but Asian reformers want their students to relax, like …

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College employees must agree to no premarital or gay sex. No drinking where students might see them.

Shorter College employees must sign a Personal Statement agreeing to no premarital or gay sex or public drinking where students may see them. (Shorter College photo)

Shorter University employees must sign a Personal Statement agreeing to no premarital or gay sex or public drinking where students may see them. (Shorter College photo)

The AJC has been hearing from folks about Shorter University’s decision to require employees to sign a “Personal Lifestyle Statement” forbidding premarital sex, adultery and homosexual sex.

The Personal Statement also requires that employees be active members of a local church. And the employees must agree to not drink in public places where students may see them, including restaurants, concerts and sports events. Nor can they attend a Shorter function if they consumed alcohol six hours prior to the event.

As strict as these rules may be, the private Baptist college has a right to do impose them.  I talked to AJC higher ed writer Laura Diamond who told me that a law professor who is an expert on religion explained that the policy is legal in Georgia and many other states.

(The school has had a policy since …

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Former Mayor Shirley Franklin: Georgia will be beat by states that invest in knowledge economy

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin says the state will fall behind if it does not invest in education.

Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin says the state will fall behind if it does not invest in education.

I have been surprised at the opposition toward the education SPLOST on the Nov. 8 ballot in Atlanta,  Fulton, DeKalb, Decatur, Gwinnett, Buford, Cherokee and Henry.

Given the stark reduction in state funds for education and the depressed housing market, schools are in desperate straits, and there would seem to be no more critical time to renew the penny sales tax for construction and capital improvements than now.

Among those who have not signed on — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the business community. In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this year, Reed said the penny — which has helped build or renovate 84 city schools or other buildings in the last 15 years— instead needs to go to a regional transportation plan expected to be put to voters next year.

Reed did not want the school system to seek to renew its SPLOST because Atlanta residents …

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And for fair play: Brookwood’s clever response to Grayson

Grayson High’s video inspired this clever response from Brookwood. Enjoy “Grayson Step Your Game Up.” 

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Better than a pep rally: Grayson High video teasing football rivals Brookwood

The AJC has a great story on a fun and clever YouTube video created by some Grayson High students to hype Friday night’s football game between the Grayson Rams and the Brookwood Broncos.

I have posted “Brookwood, Where You At?” here for you to watch. The student performers and writers deserve all the attention they are getting. This is a blast. (I also posted Brookwood’s response. It is also terrific.)

According to the AJC:

The Grayson teens who created the rap and produced the beat have appeared on local television performing their hit. It has spread across metro Atlanta radio and is being downloaded on iTunes by the score.

“This is a modern day version of saying ‘I’ve got spirit, how about you?’” said Grayson senior Kawan Moore, who came up with the idea for the rap and appears first in the video. “Hopefully, it will catch on.”

The song has sparked several responses, including “Grayson, Step Up Your Game,” the “official” comeback released by Brookwood seniors Wednesday. The …

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