Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The stories of the journey Georgia middle and high school students travel on their way to becoming successful high school graduates is the major focus of this blog. As we share these stories with each other, we create the possibility of connections, celebrations, and a more personal view of factors that challenge Georgia’s high school graduation rate.

Our First Contributor

What does this have to do with Blueberries? Kristie Stiles, Graduation Coach at Dodge County Middle School, is one of the first to respond to a call for shared stories. The postings in her blog take us through the first day she got her appointment to her thoughts on the nature of the job, why it is needed, what she is doing, and how she feels about what is happening with her students. If you are someone who likes to skip ahead, you might check out Kristi’s post for September 30 on Shifting Paradigms or October 11 on Mentoring. If you have more curiosity than patience, jump right to Kristi’s post for September 13 to read the anecdote about blueberries.

Click here for more information.

Comments from Kristie in her response to the March 11, 2008 request for content for the Georgia Graduation Stories blog:

The people of Georgia will never realize how tenuous at-risk kids are in
their lives. Some don't know where dinner is coming from, so a school
project is fairly meaningless some days. Children really do begin the
decision to drop out of high school before they ever get there. The
Governor has done a wondrous thing by acknowledging and funding such a
critical person in the lives of these often left behind children.

Thank you to Kristie and to the students, families, teachers and administrators of Dodge County Middle School.


In 2006, Gov. Perdue introduced the High School Graduation Coach initiative that placed Graduation Coaches in 369 Georgia high schools. Students who are at-risk of becoming a school drop out are the Graduation Coach’s target population. Graduation Coaches work along with parents, teachers and school administrators to help the identified students successfully graduate and to be prepared for a post-secondary education and/or workforce experience. The Georgia Department of Education’s Division of School Improvement Services and Communities in Schools of Georgia collaborate to provide training, support and technical assistance for Georgia’s Graduation Coaches.

Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, Middle School Graduation Coaches were placed throughout Georgia’s Middle Schools. Graduation Coaches at this level work on providing a successful transition for all students from elementary school to middle school. The Coaches also provide at-risk middle school students with comprehensive prevention and intervention programs.

Department of Education

Click here for more information.

Communities in Schools

Click here for more information.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Road Trip Episode Is Here!

“Grounds for Success”, episode 9 in this award winning series is now available for viewing on GPB’s overnight schedule and for streaming from the website. Check it out on your television and on your computer (

In this episode, a brainy student, intent on winning his Dream Girl, looks for ways to appeal to her farming background and her love of outdoors. The Road Trip travels to:

  • North Metro Technical College for the Environmental Horticulture and Diesel Technology programs
  • Okefenokee Technical College for the Forest Technology and Microcomputer Specialist programs.
  • Southwest Georgia Technical College for the Agriculture Technology and Gerontology programs

Here’s Some News About Previous Episodes

“Sub Zero”, episode 7

New counselor Georgia Allen, substitute teaching some bored students, recalls Road Trip experiences in order to capture and keep the class' attention.

Click here for more details on episode 7.

One of the young actors in this episode has received a national award. Demetrice Tutle was recently named National Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. You can read more about it in his local newspaper:

Click here for the article.

“Call of the Wildlife”, episode 4

This episode of Road Trip has been honored with the 28th Annual Telly Award ( in the online educational programs category. This premier award recognizes the finest video and film productions, as well as the best of local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs.

In the “Call of the Wildlife” episode, the fictional high school counselors realize that a Road Trip is needed after hearing a student’s concern that her best friend, bored with high school, is leaving just before her graduation. She wants to settle for a minimum wage job at the local animal park.

Road Trip travels to:

  • Athens Technical College for the Veterinary Technician and Biotechnology programs
  • Ogeechee Technical College for Sonography and Echocardiography
  • Swainsboro Technical College for Fish and Game Management
Click here for more details on episode 4.

Road Trip is a production partnership between Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education.

Click here for more information on the Road Trip series.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Staying in School is Worth the Ride

This tag line provides an important message to students while succinctly describing a focus of Road Trip, an award winning monthly video series available both on the web and on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Education Satellite Network (Channels 420 & 430).

The 12 episodes in the series highlight the new age of technology while taking an interesting look into Georgia’s technical colleges. Students at a fictional Georgia high school bring questions about life and career choices to the actors who play high school counselors and administrators. Their answer is to have everyone pile into the star vehicle of the series (its orange) and go on a Road Trip to the state’s 33 technical colleges and three Board of Regents colleges. For the two career counselors it is an opportunity to slow their county’s alarming dropout rate and expose their student to the rewards of education by taking them on these visits to Georgia’s technical colleges.

A film crew from West Georgia Technical Colleges spent almost a year shooting on location to provide students and audience alike get an “I never knew that” look at programs such as Culinary Arts, Animation & Multimedia, Veterinary Assistant and Robotics to name a few.

Road Trip is a production partnership between Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Graduation Counts!

The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) and Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) collaborated in the spring and summer of 2007 to create video-training modules around the goal of supporting and strengthening middle and high school students' path to graduation. DOE distributed DVDs of the two titles to middle and high schools in Georgia. The content can also be streamed from the GPB website.

Interested? Take a look.

Graduation Counts! Readiness to Results in Grades 6-12
A video -training module for school-based leadership team to gain a deeper understanding of the practices outlined in the Graduation Counts! guide.

To learn more, click here.

Georgia Teachers as Advisors
A video-training module to enable middle and high school teachers to assume responsibilities as student advisors and as members of graduation teams.

To learn more, click here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Share Your Story

Share Successes and Challenges

Here is an opportunity for community members, educators, parents and students. We are gathering stories, interviews, as well as video and audio clips that reflect the journey that middle and high school students make towards the goal of high school graduation.

We know that one story may not look like another. We welcome them all! We are particularly interested in "user-generated" content, especially student-created, multi-media videos, interviews, etc. of their academic struggles and successes. Let us hear the stories of those individuals or groups who have made a difference in the lives of the students.

*Submissions can be sent in the following formats:
Digital Pictures: JPG, GIF or PNG
**Video Clips (30 min. or less): MOV, AVI, MPEG or WMV
Audio Clips: MP3

**Steps for Direct Upload for Video Content
GPB has now made it even easier for you to share your Georgia Graduation Stories.
Go to the link to directly upload your video.

Follow these simple instructions:
1. Register for an account. We will never share your information with third parties.
2. Log in
3. Fill out the simple form.
4. Done!

We'll receive a notification that you've uploaded a video. Once we approve it, you'll see it on this website!

The final product will be available in a variety of new media formats, including GPB's Georgia Graduation Stories blog:

Barbara O'Brien
Curriculum Contnet Specialist
Georgia Public Broadcasting


Friday, March 7, 2008

Who's Talking?

There is a serious conversation going on in the political, business and educational communities in Georgia over each group’s shared concerns regarding the state’s existing graduation and drop out rates. The economic impact these two rates have on the state’s economy, health care costs, and the criminal justice system are factors that make up part of the conversation. Increasing the workforce readiness skills of future employees and increasing the post-secondary enrollment rate are two more.

Parents, students and classroom teachers are expressing similar concerns.

The words might be different:

  • Instruction in the classroom needs to be more challenging and relevant
  • Students need to know an adult in the school cares about their needs
  • Learning options need to be available

The concerns are the same.

The Georgia Graduation Stories blog will be a tool for entering into the heart of these conversations. With words, pictures, video and audio clips, we will report what we are hearing from those individuals and organizations for whom all these concerns are a daily reality.

To paraphrase the fictional Dr. Frasier Crane on his radio show:

We are listening…