Friday, August 22, 2008

Georgia Student Finalist in National Science Competition

GA Student National Finalist

Mathew McGuthry of Richmond Hill is a top finalist in the 2008 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (YSC) with his video entry on satellites and orbits. Mathew was one of ten student winner. View his winning video entry at the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist link.

Governor Perdue congratulated Mathew on his accomplishment. From Governor Perdue's Press Office:

For Immediate Release Contact: Office of Communications

Friday, August 22, 2008 (404) 651-7774

Governor Perdue Congratulates Georgia Student Finalist in Premier National Science Competition

Middle Schoolers and Teachers Put Their Knowledge of “The Science of Space”

To the Ultimate Test

ATLANTA. – Governor Perdue today congratulated Mathew McGuthry of Richmond Hill on being a top finalist in the 2008 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge (YSC) with his video entry on satellites and orbits. McGuthry was among ten students from across the nation announced recently in the search for the nation’s Top Young Scientist hosted by Discovery Education and 3M.

Georgia is proud of Matthew and his achievement in this competition so far. Mary and I wish him the best in the final competition and we are happy to see Georgia represented in the finals,” said Governor Perdue.

The National Governors’ Association (NGA) partnered to sponsor this year’s competition along with NASA and Science Olympiad.

The ten student finalists will compete in the nation’s capital from October 4 to 6 for the chance to win a $50,000 U.S. Savings Bond ($25,000 cash value) as well as the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist of the Year.” NASA will host the competition finals at its world-renowned Goddard Space Flight Center, located near Washington, D.C., where students will demonstrate their science prowess in a series of team-based, interactive challenges focused on this year’s theme, “The Science of Space.” Meanwhile, the teachers will contend for a specially selected set of prizes and recognition as “America’s Top Science Teacher of the Year.”

“The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is an important part of our company’s commitment to science education and the belief that the next generation be able to effectively communicate complex ideas and solutions,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications. “These 10 finalists are the future science leaders in America and Discovery is so proud to be associated with so much passion, dedication and intellect that will ultimately keep the United States competitive in these critical fields.”

Robert MacDonald, President, 3M Foundation, added, “Science is at the very heart of 3M, driving the pulse of innovation throughout our company on a global basis. We have a responsibility to foster interest and development in the innovators of our future, and our partnership with Discovery provides the ideal platform for students and teachers to demonstrate just how exciting the journey of learning can be.”

The 2008 Competition

In its 10th year, the YSC introduced a new entry mechanism for students, challenging their ability to innovatively use everyday technology to communicate basic scientific concepts. From camcorders to cell phones, YSC competitors chose any technology available to create two-minute videos demonstrating their understanding of scientific concepts surrounding “The Science of Space” theme, including the Doppler Effect, a Parabola, Why Earth’s Sky Appears Blue, Orbital Paths, Magnetic Fields, the Bernoulli Principle and the Venturi Effect. Entries were evaluated on students’ ability to understand and effectively communicate the meaning of their chosen concept, not on the sophistication of their video production. The competition was open to all middle schoolers across the country.

This year, Discovery Education and 3M added a teacher component to the competition which follows the same premise as the student challenge. With the goal of finding the nation’s top science teacher, the YSC challenged teachers to make their own videos explaining space-related concepts, including Newton’s Laws of Motion, Acceleration, Aeronautics, Centrifugal and Centripetal Force, and Scope and Scale.

For more information on Matthew McGuthry and his prize-winning video, as well as all the other finalists, please visit:

About Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge

The Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for middle schoolers. The YSC targets students in the years when research indicates their interest in science begins to fade and encourages them to explore scientific concepts and creatively communicate their findings. As a way to further reinforce its longstanding commitment to scientific innovation, 3M came on board this year as the Presenting Sponsor of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. In addition, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Governors Association, National 4-H Council, and Science Olympiad have signed on as partners for this year’s YSC. All four organizations join Discovery Education and 3M with the common goal of engaging and inspiring every middle school student in America to explore science and share their findings.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dropout Prevention & Technology Webcast

Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Technology and Dropout Prevention—Tools, Tactics, and Things You Should Know

presented by

Dr. Chris Peters

Want to find out how to engage at-risk students in using technology?

How can I use technology with my students if I have a very tight budget?

Dr. Chris Peters will discuss positive ways that technology can be made part of any school’s dropout prevention strategy. Topics to be covered in this live discussion range from "big picture" issues such as developing realistic expectations of what technology can and can’t do, to spotlighting specific technologies that are both powerful and inexpensive. While aimed particularly at those working with students in the school setting, this program will hold valuable insights and recommendations for parents, community members, and at-risk students themselves.

Supplementary materials are now available online for this radio webcast at

All necessary information about participating fully in this professional development opportunity is found on the Web site at

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact the National Dropout Prevention Center.

Participation in this radio Webcast is free and no registration is required. The program will be archived in its entirety on the Web site. On the day of the Webcast, link to the broadcast at

Having trouble with the link? Simply copy and paste the entire address listed below into your web browser:,P1,F063CEFD-2B16-4933-9440-BC7ACFDCF044



Funding Freebie!

As and educator, school administrator or parent volunteer interested in Federal Grants for your school, here is a workshop for you. See details below for a free workshop on understanding and writing federal grants. Whether you are new to the grant writing process or experienced but want to learn more, this workshop is designed for you.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of grant writing – complete beginner to seasoned and successful – participating in grant workshops can give you an edge. This is especially true of grant workshops – usually free of charge – sponsored by grantmaking agencies. Not only will you learn new things about specific grants, you will sharpen your technique and enhance your networking skills and opportunities.

Next Thursday, August 28, from 10 AM – 3 PM, Congressman Phil Gingrey (GA-11) will host a workshop for federal grants: Federal Grants Supermarket. The workshop will be held in the Kennesaw State University Social Sciences Building, First Floor Auditorium. Be sure to visit for further location and parking information.

The grant writing session is from 10 AM – 12 Noon. Participants will learn the basics of writing federal grant proposals at a free workshop presented by the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

At noon there will be a session examining federal opportunities for small businesses followed by a contracting and purchasing session at 1 p.m. Federal representatives will be on-site from noon to 3 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public‚ but reservations are required due to limited capacity. Reservations may be made via e-mail to For further information‚ call Congressman Gingrey’s local district office at 706-290-1776.

In general, very few federal grants are available to individual schools in Georgia. (Other states recognize charter schools as local education agencies -- LEAs -- to enable them to go for federal grants and other grants available only to LEAs.)

Don’t let the scarcity of grants for individual schools dissuade you from attending this workshop or sending a representative from your school. Learning how to write a successful federal grant is excellent training for writing any grant. And, you may discover an attainable grant opportunity or two that you did not know existed.

Sandy Spruill is the Grants Administrator for Georgia Public Broadcasting and a member of the American Association of Grants Professionals

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grants for the Classroom


It’s back-to-school time – and for many teachers that means “$chool”! As budgets are cut and prices rise, you may be wondering where you will find the means to do all the wonderful things you have planned for the year ahead.

Hello! I am Sandy Spruill, grants administrator for Georgia Public Broadcasting. I will be posting occasionally to the Georgia Graduation Stories blog to give you the benefit of my grantwriting experience. Please feel free to share your stories, as well. We will all benefit! Let’s funnel those grant dollars to Georgia this year!

The first thing to know is that there is no one single place to find a listing of all grants and all grant deadlines. But, there are some places that come awfully close. Take a look at several of my favorites:

Foundations for the Future, known as F3 and brought to you by the Georgia Tech Research Institute, provides a very complete, up-to-date listing of Grant Funding Opportunities, Fellowships, Equipment Donations and Student Competitions available to Georgia K-12 educators and students. To subscribe to email updates, send a request to

Do you subscribe to eSchool News? You should! It is free and another excellent resource for all things educational – especially grants. While you are there, be sure to sign up to access premium content. It is free, fast and easy to sign up. Do you still prefer the feel of a newspaper in your hand? Sign up to receive eSchool News in newspaper form, too. No charge.

Finally, be sure to go to The Foundation Center. There you will find free training opportunities and free helpful newsletters such as the weekly RFP Bulletin, a roundup of recently announced Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from private, corporate, and government funding sources. Also available for free is an Education Funding Watch newsletter.

Now what? I’ll be back with helpful “how-to” advice next time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tips for New Teachers


This is the end of first week of school for many Georgia students. It is also the end of the first week of school for many of Georgia's new teachers. It has been an exciting and challenging week for both groups with many stories to share.

Stories are meant for sharing. It is a win-win situation when experienced classroom teachers and educators share what they have learned with new teachers. Mentoring and support from peers can make all the difference to a teacher during that important first year in the classroom. Success for teachers also means success for students.

The Georgia Graduation Stories blog would like to post your tips for new teachers. You can send your tips by email to:
Use the same email address to learn how to send your tips as video clips or audio files.

Thank you to Patrice Weaver, Interim Director of the GPB Education Services Division, for sharing a resource from Science Class: High School Edition. This is an online companion to The Science Teacher, NSTA’s journal for high school teachers. The August, 2008 publication focuses on tips for new teachers. NSTA is the National Science Teacher’s Association.

In the News: New Teacher Tips

On the Web: New Teacher Tips

From the The Science Teacher Archives: New Teacher Tips

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Resource for Educators from GPB

Georgia Public Broadcasting Launching New Digital Education Channel

Georgia Public Broadcasting will be launching a new digital education channel on October 1, 2008. This new channel, GPB Knowledge, will be available throughout the state of Georgia and will replace our existing delivery method of GPB Education Satellite Programming (formally PeachStar Satellite Programming). Much of the content will be available through GPB Education Streaming and the GPB Digital Library On-Demand, as well as on our new channel, GPB Knowledge. Educators will have the same recording rights as before.

To receive GPB Educational programs, Educators have the option of:

live viewing on GPB Knowledge (on television)

downloading from GPB Education Streaming to their computers for later viewing

storing on portable devices for more convenient viewing (i.e., flash drives or burning to CDs).

Schools will receive GPB Knowledge via cable

commercial satellite

or by tuning your digital receiver to 8.3

For schools without cable, commercial satellite or digital reception, a converter box is recommended. They may be purchased wherever electronics are sold and cost between $40 and $80 dollars. This will convert analog televisions - TVs with “rabbit ear” antennas - to digital format so you and your students may enjoy digital broadcasting.

In the event that your area does not have access to broadcast television and you’d like to watch GPB Knowledge, the channel may be accessed on your computer by using a USBTV Tuner.

GPB Education Streaming will continue to provide On-Demand delivery of over 5,000 full-length videos with segments and educator resources. Visit for more information.

For a complete list of all GPB Education programs and where to access them, CLICK HERE.

Here is a list of the current programs you’ve come to rely on as classroom tools from GPB and where you may find them now:

Programs on the GPB Knowledge Channel:
Economics USA
Math for All
Trip Nation
English Composition: Writing for an Audience
American Passages: A Literary Survey
Art of the Western World
Careers for the 21st Century

Programs continuing on Georgia Public Broadcasting:
American History through Southern Eyes
2008 Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest
Georgia Read More
Guiding Children Successfully
Parenting Works
Right from Birth
Going to School
Parenting Principal
Literary Visions
Keeping Kids Healthy
TV 411
A Child’s Bookshelf
GPEE Bus Trip Across Georgia

Programs available for streaming on
Achieving Excellence
Count On It!
Georgia Stories
GPB Classroom
Green Tree Frog
Youth Art: Reflections on the World
Instrumental Success

Programs available for download from
GPB Education Streaming:
Count On It!
Georgia Stories I & II
GPB Classroom: Chemistry
GPB Classroom: Physics
The Green Tree Frog: How a Bill Becomes a Law

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Leadership Opportunity Available for High School Students

Superintendent Cox Seeks Student Advisors

Georgia High School Students are invited to apply for a state level leadership opportunity. State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox is accepting applications for her 2008-2009 Student Advisory Council.

The members of the Student Advisory Council meet four times during the school year with Superintendent Cox to discuss how decisions made at the state level are affecting students throughout Georgia. Members are advisors and act as liaisons between the Department of Education and the students of Georgia.

All students in grades 9-12 are eligible to apply. Meeting dates are:
October 20, 2008
December 8, 2008
February 9, 2009
April 13,2009
(dates are tentative and are subject to change.)
Applicants should be able to attend all four meetings.

To be eligible for the Council, applications must be received by September
12, 2008.

Interested students should contact:
Courtney Burnett, External Affairs
(404) 657-1340