Archive for the ‘Cherokee’ Category

Cherokee school board: Shades of DeKalb in silly exchange between new board member and school chief

I was beseeched by several readers to look at the video of Thursday’s Cherokee County Board of Education meeting. The readers contended that new board member Kelly Marlow tangled with Cherokee Superintendent Frank Petruzielo over a minor issue and wasted a lot of time.

After watching the video, I have to agree that time was frittered away on what seemed a minor point on the dues being spent by the district — approved in the budget last year — for the Georgia School Boards Association.

And the audience seemed to concur, applauding in the video when an exasperated Petruzielo finally said, “I can’t imagine we are spending really this much time on something this inconsequential, particularly with the kinds of issues we just talked about in the work session that are so consequential to the future of this system.”

Marlow ran for the office as a watchdog and a reformer, and that is the role she clearly intends to fulfill even at the cost of creating discomfort.

I happen to like …

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State monies to help struggling districts going to Gwinnett, Clayton and Paulding. Many small-town systems get nothing. Why?

As many of you often point out on the blog, state equalization grants are not going to the presumed targets, poor rural districts, but to the mighty Gwinnett County Schools

And you always wonder why.

The AJC looked at the grants that are supposed to help struggling districts with weak tax bases in a Sunday story by AJC reporter James Salzer. The story explains how the grants are awarded, detailing a formula that benefits districts with booming enrollments and eroding property values. In other words: Gwinnett.

But an expert suggests that the calculus of the equalization grants needs to look beyond the property wealth-to-student ratio to personal wealth in a county, which would send more money to struggling south Georgia districts that may have stagnant enrollments but also have persistent poverty and historic school under funding.

Here is an excerpt of the news story: (See list of where grants are going.)

By James Salzer

Gov. Nathan Deal won praise in January when he announced …

Continue reading State monies to help struggling districts going to Gwinnett, Clayton and Paulding. Many small-town systems get nothing. Why? »

Cherokee Schools name its teacher of the year: Sandy Giudice

Cherokee school chief Frank R. Petruzielo surprised Sandy Giudice with the district's Teacher of the Year award today.

Cherokee school chief Frank R. Petruzielo surprised Sandy Giudice with the district's Teacher of the Year award today.

Here is some more good news. This is the release from Cherokee County about its teacher of the year.

(Other district ought to send me their news about teachers of the year.)

From Cherokee County:

Macedonia Elementary School teacher Sandy Giudice’s third-grade classroom looks like what you would expect, but it doesn’t sound like it.

“All you need is love,” she sings to the students when they need to return their focus to their classwork.

“Love, love, love,” they sing back.

And that is the message that Ms. Giudice, the Cherokee County School District’s Teacher of the Year, said she hopes her students keep in their hearts forever.

“That I loved them,” Ms. Giudice, who is in her 11th year of teaching, said of how she hopes her students remember her. “That I cared about them and always wanted the best for them.”

Ms. Giudice was visited in her …

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Cherokee County SAT scores: Highest in state followed by Fulton, Oconee, Decatur and Forsyth

cherokee

Cherokee County sent out a release on its 2012 SAT scores, which, for all three testing areas, are the state’s highest.

The Cherokee County School District has posted the highest SAT district average score in the state of Georgia for 2012, based on an analysis of statewide data released on Monday by the state Department of Education and the College Board.

While internal analysis had shown the CCSD score, a 28-point increase from the 2011 average total, was the highest in the District’s history, a review of the scores across the state reveals CCSD to have the highest district-wide average as well, with a total score of 1587.  The next closest district average for 2012 is 1580 (Fulton County).

“Congratulations to the students, parents, teachers and administrators on making Cherokee County School District No. 1 in the State of Georgia,” said Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, Superintendent of Schools.  “What is important about this distinction is that it shows our …

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Does charter school funding leave taxpayers holding the bag?

Regular Get Schooled blog readers know Cherokee businessman John Konop as an astute commenter on the economics of education. He’s also a great debater as he focuses on the facts and does not get carried away with politics or ideology.

And he posts under his name, which signals that he stands behind his comments.

Konop has sparked debate in Cherokee County over questions on the funding of a charter school there and who gets stuck with the bill. Konop raised these issues with the Cherokee County School Board at a recent meeting.

Here is a followup letter he sent board member Michael Geist:

Dear Mr. Geist,

According to a recent newspaper article, it seems you are still very confused about why you’re getting so much negative feedback about the lack of fiscal controls in the charter school amendment that you support. I will once again clarify the issues by explaining how the Cherokee Charter Academy (CCA) was funded and how the current charter school amendment fails protect tax …

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Annual paid teacher leave: Average is 13.6 days for veterans. Fulton gives teachers 20 days.

Of Georgia's largest systems, Fulton offers the most teacher leave, according to a new study.  (AP Images)

Of Georgia's largest systems, Fulton offers the most teacher leave, according to a new study. (AP Images)

The print AJC offered several provocative education stories over the past few days, including one on the paid leave afforded teachers in large school districts.

The story was based on a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, which noted wide differences nationwide in leave policies and amounts. (Before commenting, please try to read the report as it explains in detail how leave is defined.)

Who provides the least teacher leave? According to the report:

Of the 26 districts which offer 10 or fewer days of general leave, nine are located in Florida. California, Louisiana, and Texas each have four districts with relatively little leave.

The TR3 district with the least amount of general leave is Desoto County, Mississippi, which only gives teachers 9 days.Teachers working for the DeSoto County (Miss.) school system get the fewest days  — nine.

Who gives the …

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State school chief explains his endorsement of voucher proponent

Regarding my post a few minutes ago, the state Department of Education has now sent me state School Superintendent John Barge’s explanation for his endorsement of state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, a leading voucher proponent in the Georgia General Assembly.

Rogers is facing fellow Republican Brandon Beach next week in a primary for his north Fulton/Cherokee seat.

Here is a letter that Barge sent out explaining his decision to back Rogers in this GOP primary race:

Dear Superintendents:

I have been contacted today by several friends expressing some concern over my endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers in his current primary and some statements Senator Rogers attributed to me.

Please allow me to set the record straight.

Chip was one of the first Republican elected officials to endorse my candidacy for Superintendent.  We agree on many conservative issues. One issue we disagree on is vouchers for education.

Unfortunately, it appears that his website …

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State DOE releases list of Alert Schools today

The state Department of Education released its list of Alert Schools today.

The new DOE accountability designations — priority schools, focus schools and reward schools — replace the “needs improvement” label in No Child Left Behind that educators deemed unclear and unhelpful. These three designations target  “Title I” schools that have a high percentage of low-income students. DOE also designated a fourth category, “alert schools,” so the state can focus on struggling schools that do not necessarily have a high percentage of low-income students.

DOE defines Alert Schools are those that need to raise student achievement on statewide assessments in the areas of graduation rate for high schools and subgroup performance and subject performance for elementary and middle schools. Alert Schools can be Title I Schools or Non-Title I Schools.

The criteria used to identify Alert Schools are:

(1) Graduation Alert Schools: High Schools whose subgroup …

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Cherokee provides view of natural tensions over charter school amendment

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the tensions in Cherokee between the school system and the legislative delegation and the board redistricting legislation that resulted. You can find quite a few posts on the issues if you search Cherokee.

It will be interesting to see whether the school system’s opposition to the state charter school amendment will have any impact on voters in November.

Here is a good summation of the Cherokee situation from the AJC’s Jeffry Scott:

For 10 months a battle has raged in Cherokee County over charter schools. A bill passed by the legislature putting a charter school amendment on the ballot November has done little to clear the smoke or diffuse the heat.

It has just ignited new opposition in the county and given rise to the prospect that the debate and battle could expand across the state, say opponents of the amendment that would give Georgia the power to create charter schools without local school board approval.

Over the last year …

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Cherokee school chief: Lawmakers are no friends of county’s highly rated school system

Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo (Cherokee schools)

Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo (Cherokee schools)

The gloves are off in the Legislature where lawmakers are going after a school district and board they perceive as hostile to charter schools.

What’s surprising to me is that they are going after Cherokee, a system that is among the state’s high performers and where the majority of parents would probably express confidence in the schools. That does not mean all parents are happy, but Cherokee has an enviable record of achievement.

House Bill 978 would realign the Cherokee county school board and effectively remove the elected school board chair and vice chair, according to the Cherokee Tribune. Now, the school board has seven members elected county-wide and members elect their own chair and vice chair.

An angry Cherokee Superintendent Frank R. Petruzielo is firing back at lawmakers, and he is not mincing his words about what he deems their lack of support for the schools and their efforts to undermine them:

Cherokee County …

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