Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Georgia principal named Middle School Principal of the Year: Congrats to Laurie Barron of Smokey Road Middle

Dr. Laurie Barron of Smokey Road Middle School

Dr. Laurie Barron of Smokey Road Middle School

This just in:

Laurie Barron, principal of Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan, GA, has been named the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year.

The award was announced today at an assembly attended by students, teachers, district staff members, and representatives from the Georgia Department of Education and the governor’s office. Barron will be honored during a black-tie gala on Sept. 21 in Washington, DC, to kick off National Principals Month.

Barron, the fifth school leader from Georgia to receive recognition as national principal of the year since 2008, joins the ranks of top Georgia principals including Wesley Taylor, Sheila Kahrs, Mark Wilson, and Molly Howard. Earning her place among the elite, Barron was the leading force behind the turnaround of Smokey Road Middle School. When she took over in 2004, she was the fourth principal to run the school in five years. However, by demonstrating her commitment …

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Study: Students from middle-income families incur higher student loan debt

One of the working research papers being presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver this weekend deals with the disproportionate share of student debt that falls on students from families earning  between $40,000 and $59,000.

Here is the official release on the paper by Jason N. Houle of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Young adults from middle income families are more likely to rack up student loan debt — and in greater amounts — than students from both lower and higher income backgrounds, finds new research to be presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Many middle income families make too much money for their children to qualify for student aid packages,” said study author Jason N. Houle, a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “While at the same time, they may not have the financial means to cover the high costs of …

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Should we expand gambling in Georgia to bolster HOPE?

In talking to parents of young children, I find many fear that the HOPE Scholarship will dwindle away to pennies by the time their kids reach college age.

The changes to HOPE by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Legislature link the merit scholarship to available lottery funds, so the amount  will now vary year to year. It will likely never pay 100 percent of tuition again, given the growing demand on lottery proceeds.

Did you see the AJC interview with the father of HOPE,former Gov. Zell Miller? In a rare press interview, an ailing Miller told my colleague Jim Galloway, “I don’t think they had any other choice. We knew back in the ‘90s that there would be adjustments. This came as no surprise.”

Galloway reports that Miller is not alarmed at the decision by state lottery officials to approve the sale of tickets through the Internet.

“I’m okay with that. In fact, we wrote the lottery law so you could do that,” he said. But as for that plan to create a casino with machines …

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Obama creates elite science, math teaching corps and seeks a billion to fund it

From the White House:

President Obama announced the creation of a new STEM teachers corps. (AJC)

President Obama announced the creation of a new STEM teachers corps. (AJC)

Today, the Obama Administration announced the President’s plan for the creation of a new, national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps comprised of some of the nation’s finest educators in STEM subjects. The STEM Master Teacher Corps will begin with 50 exceptional STEM teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers.

These selected teachers will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The Administration will launch this Teacher Corps with the $1 billion from the President’s 2013 budget request currently before Congress.

President Obama said, “If America is going to compete for the jobs and industries of tomorrow, we need to make sure our children are …

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Coweta administrator is national Principal of the Year finalist

From the National Association of Secondary School Principals:

Laurie Barron, principal of Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan. (Coweta schools)

Laurie Barron, principal of Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan. (Coweta schools)

Laurie Barron, principal of Smokey Road Middle School in Newnan, has been named a finalist in the 2013 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for her significant contributions to student achievement.

When Barron became the principal of Smokey Road eight years ago, the school of nearly 800 students was plagued by discipline problems, high absenteeism, and low student achievement. By building trusting relationships and promoting shared leadership, however, Barron was able to restore confidence among students, teachers, and community members.

Under Barron’s leadership, stakeholder input is highly valued; teachers receive meaningful professional development and leadership opportunities; and most importantly, students benefit from constant recognition, personal relationships with adults in the building, and customized …

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An Atlanta charter school closes. Short funds, students.

Atlanta’s Tech High is closing. The charter school enrolled 200 students in grades 9 though 12, according to the state DOE

One persistent problem with charter high schools nationwide is that teens want a larger social pool and wider opportunities than many start-up charters can provide.

And the students want the fun stuff, the Friday night football games, the dances, the homecoming parades. It is tough to offer the social and extracurricular extras in schools with 50 kids or fewer per grade level.

Tech High could not draw enough students, partly because of its forsaken location on Memorial Drive. (A father recently  told me that he took his child to visit the school, but turned around in the parking lot after seeing the run-down facility)

Probably more disconcerting to many Atlanta parents, Tech High’s math and science scores were not dazzling. On the 2011 state End-of-Course Test, 69 percent of Tech High students failed Math I and Math II,  40 percent failed biology and …

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A senior’s music video plea gets him off University of Michigan wait list and into college and our hearts

Another one of those YouTube videos that lights up your day. And, yes, Lawrence Yong, a high school senior at Granada Hills Charter High School in Los Angeles, is now going to the University of Michigan. (This might fuel a whole new genre of music video college applications.)

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Teacher of the Year in Sacramento is victim of layoffs

The “last hired, first fired” policy in some states has claimed the Teacher of the Year of the Sacramento City Unified School District in California.

The termination of Michelle Apperson for budget reasons is getting a lot of media attention, although I assume there are other Sacramento teachers with impressive credentials and awards among the 400 losing their jobs. The nine-year veteran is garnering headlines because she was recently named Teacher of the Year for the system.

According to News10/KXTV, where you can see an interview with Apperson:

Michelle Apperson just found out she was named “Teacher of the Year” for the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Despite that and the fact that she has taught at Sutterville Elementary School for the past nine years, she’s still losing her job due to budget cuts. She received her final notice in May.

“It hurts on a personal level because I really love what I do,” said Apperson. “But professionally, politically, I get why it …

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CRCT scores being released today: Fewer concerns

Here is the advance the AJC ran this morning in anticipation of the release this morning of statewide CRCT scores.

The story details the waning impact of the test on school system ratings as Georgia moves to new accountability measures. This is an excerpt. Please read full story:

Few educators are mourning the waning primacy of the CRCT, administered to public school students in grades 3 through 8. The test, a key part in determining if a school meets federal achievement standards , measures student performance in English/language arts, reading, science, math and social studies.

“I think educators have felt for some time now that we’ve gone overboard on testing,” said Tim Callahan, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. “Right now, we seem to be caught up in a numbers game. It’s almost a blame and shame game.”

Since 2000, the CRCT has been a critical factor in determining if a school meets federal adequate yearly progress targets, or AYP. In years …

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UGA prof: The real educational crisis is manufactured educational crises

UGA professor Peter Smagorinsky has penned another provocative essay for us to discuss on whether all the laments about the state of education have an underlying purpose: To further profits and agendas.

By Peter Smagorinsky

I recently read a document about the need to improve high school writing instruction so as to prepare students better for the expectations that await them in college. Like just about every story written about education these days, the paper opened with the rhetoric of crisis. The argument goes like this: High school teachers aren’t doing their jobs well, because 32 percent of all high school graduates, according to some studies, are performing on writing tests at rates that do not meet the standards for quality writing at the college level. We therefore need to intervene to improve this horrid rate of success, so that kids can better compete in this global economy.

From there, the authors took their own direction. To them, what we need is more university …

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