Archive for the ‘Gwinnett’ Category

The top HOPE Scholarships: Are the best and the brightest in Fulton and Gwinnett? Is rural Georgia shortchanged?

artchangeThe Georgia Senate debated the qualifications to become a Zell Miller scholar this afternoon while discussing House Bill 131, which accords high school students who take dual enrollment college classes the same .5 boost in their final grade that Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate students now earn.

Ultimately, the Senate approved the grade boost for dual enrollment, but voted 33-15 against against an amendment  to change how the Zell Miller Scholarship is calculated so that more rural Georgia students would qualify.

Only one group of Georgia college students — those who graduated high school with a 3.7 or higher GPA  and scored at least 1200 on the math and reading portions of the SAT test or a 26 on the ACT –   now earn full tuition under the changes made to the lottery-funded HOPE Scholarship. These students are known as Zell Miller Scholars. Zell Miller is also extended to all high school valedictorians and salutatorians.

State Sen. Jason Carter, …

Continue reading The top HOPE Scholarships: Are the best and the brightest in Fulton and Gwinnett? Is rural Georgia shortchanged? »

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? »

Has Thurmond reached out to teachers enough? He says Wilbanks is his mentor. (So did Atkinson.)

The AJC interviewed newly appointed DeKalb interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond. I found one of his answers surprising. AJC education writer Nancy Badertscher asked him about his efforts to get to know the district, which began with meetings with parents. She then asked him about meeting with teachers. Here is what he said:

A: “I look forward to spending time with teachers, but not just them — everyone, the bus drivers, cafeteria workers, everyone. I tell people I parachuted into the middle of a firefight with bullets, missiles, projectiles coming in all directions. But things have settled a little bit.”

I think Thurmond has to make a more visible outreach to DeKalb teachers as I am hearing from more of them how discouraged they are. Ultimately, education comes down to a classroom and a teacher.  One of the chief reasons there are still students in DeKalb winning science competitions and getting into Duke and Tech is because teachers are still teaching. They are closing …

Continue reading Has Thurmond reached out to teachers enough? He says Wilbanks is his mentor. (So did Atkinson.) »

Here are state’s AP merit schools: 20 percent of students took AP exams; half or more exams earned 3 or higher

Congrats to Georgia’s AP Merit Schools, which are high schools with at least 20 percent of the student population taking AP exams and at least half of all AP exams earning scores of three or higher.

Special shoutout to Fulton (9), Gwinnett (9) and Cobb (8) for having so many high schools on the list.

ALAN C. POPE HIGH SCHOOL COBB COUNTY

ALPHARETTA HIGH SCHOOL FULTON COUNTY

BERKMAR HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT COUNTY

BROOKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

BUFORD HIGH SCHOOL BUFORD CITY

CARLTON J. KELL HIGH SCHOOL COBB

CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

CHAMBLEE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB COUNTY

CHATTAHOOCHEE HIGH SCHOOL FULTON

COLUMBUS HIGH SCHOOL MUSCOGEE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT

DALTON HIGH SCHOOL DALTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS

DECATUR HIGH SCHOOL CITY SCHOOLS OF DECATUR

DULUTH HIGH SCHOOL GWINNETT

DUNWOODY HIGH SCHOOL DEKALB

FORSYTH CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL FORSYTH COUNTY SCHOOLS

GREENBRIER HIGH SCHOOL COLUMBIA COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM

GWINNETT SCHOOL OF MATH, SCIENCE, & TECHNOLOGY GWINNETT

HARRISON HIGH SCHOOL …

Continue reading Here are state’s AP merit schools: 20 percent of students took AP exams; half or more exams earned 3 or higher »

As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve?

georgia-road-map-300x334Are the architects of Georgia’s education policies paying close enough attention to the vicissitudes of the state’s job market?

Should they be? Should education policy track job market shifts?

I was disappointed to read that Georgia is losing a startling share of  “premium” jobs, according to a new brief by the Fiscal Research Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

Can education reverse the loss of the state’s highest paying jobs? Can we continue to under invest in education given the job trends?

As a state, Georgia came late to the realization that it had to educate its citizens to higher standards. It was content to send kids without a high school diplomas off to mills and farms, but those jobs have dramatically shrunk, and, in some cases, disappeared.

It is interesting to note where the jobs are in Georgia.

Fulton County holds the largest share of jobs. While Fulton represented  17.71 percent of state jobs in 2000, it fell to 16.91 …

Continue reading As Georgia bleeds high-paying jobs, can education provide a salve? »

Dropout prevention: Gwinnett takes a STEP forward to get overage 8th graders back on track to graduation

The AJC’s Nancy Badertscher has a good story today about Gwinnett’s  STEP program targeting overage eighth graders, who face a very high risk of dropping out of high school.

These students who have fallen behind their peers are put in an accelerated yearlong program with specially trained teachers. Through concerted effort and time, they can get back on track for graduation.

Based on a national model, the program combines classroom and online classes. STEP sound promising and has had strong initial results for Gwinnett students.

Here is an excerpt of Nancy’s story: (Please read the full story before commenting.)

While the district has a 67.6 percent overall high graduation rate, only about 13 percent of its students who enter ninth grade a year or more behind are leaving high school with a diploma. The goal of Gwinnett’s new STEP academies is to get those students back on track to on-time graduation through a compressed, one-year schedule of online and traditional classes.

The …

Continue reading Dropout prevention: Gwinnett takes a STEP forward to get overage 8th graders back on track to graduation »

AJC wants to talk to parents or students who participated in Gwinnett’s STEP Academy

My AJC colleague Nancy Badertscher is looking for parents or students who have participated in Gwinnett’s STEP Academy and who would be willing to be quoted in a story about the program. If you can help, please contact her at 770-263-3641 or email her.

Thanks, Maureen

Continue reading AJC wants to talk to parents or students who participated in Gwinnett’s STEP Academy »

Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett schools among Blue Ribbon winners honored this week in Washington

Congratulations to these schools and their staffs:

From DOE:

Seven Georgia public schools and one private school were honored Tuesday in Washington, D.C.. at the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Ceremony held by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

“I congratulate these schools for being recognized as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “The students, teachers and staff of these schools should be proud of their success. These schools are shining examples of what happens when everyone is focused on student learning.”

Blue Ribbon Schools are chosen in two categories. See criteria here.

HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOLS: Schools that scored in the top 10 percent in student achievement.

DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED SCHOOLS: Schools with …

Continue reading Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett schools among Blue Ribbon winners honored this week in Washington »

Congrats: DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Oconee, Worth, Madison and Walker counties earn spots on AP honor roll

Seven Georgia districts were recognized today by the College Board on the 3rd Annual AP District Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to AP courses while increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.

They are DeKalb, Gwinnett, Walker, Oconee, Madison, Rockdale and Worth counties.

DeKalb sent me a release on its inclusion on the honor roll:

According to the College Board, only about half of African-American, Hispanic and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP actually participate, often because the courses aren’t offered.

In DeKalb, where 88 percent of the student population is non-white and 71.13 percent of students receive free or reduced-price meals, AP classes are offered at 23 schools.

“We are ecstatic to receive this high level state and national recognition for our students and the district,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson. “We know that by providing support and access to these high-level …

Continue reading Congrats: DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Oconee, Worth, Madison and Walker counties earn spots on AP honor roll »

Incumbents appear safe in Gwinnett, Clayton. So, are voters happy with direction of their schools?

The results of school board board elections show incumbents retaining their seats in Gwinnett and Clayton, suggesting that voters are not unhappy with the direction of their schools.

Or at least not unhappy enough to vote in change.

On the other hand, voters approved the controversial charter school amendment, which gives the state more power to get involved in local education decisions.

Clayton offers an interesting situation. In July,  dissatisfied Clayton residents voted out two incumbent county commissioners and the sheriff. So, you can’t argue that Clayton voters aren’t paying attention or willing to act. They have proven they will oust incumbents, who often retain their posts through Georgia due to voter inertia.

But Clayton school board members appear to be holding onto their seats based on current vote counts. Yet, the district is under a warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that its accreditation is being jeopardized by board feuding.

So, are …

Continue reading Incumbents appear safe in Gwinnett, Clayton. So, are voters happy with direction of their schools? »