Monday, June 29, 2009

The Nation's Report Card: Arts 2008

Report of 8th Grade Achievement in the Arts First Since 1997

On June 15, 2009, The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)released The Nation's Report Card (report) on the performance of 8th grade students in music and visual arts as measured on the NAEP assessment administered January-March, 2008 to 7,900 students nationwide. The results were compared to the last time NAEP administered the arts assessment in 1997. Student and school background factors as related to arts achievement are also included in the report.

Students taking the assessments in music were asked questions that required both responding and creative and critical thinking. A sample response question was to ask students to identify the instrument featured in a solo piece of music.

Students in the visual arts were asked to identify the similarities between two self-portraits. They were also asked to add a project to the tasks being measured by including the creation of a self-portrait with materials that were supplied.

The full assessment that includes grades 4 and 12 was not included due to budget cuts. Dance and Theater were not assessed due to the small number of schools that offer all four arts.

The 2008 NAEP arts assessment indicates a decrease in student achievement and a decrease in student visits to museums and other cultural institutions. View data, full report and archived webcast of the NAEP news release event.

The purpose for conducting an assessment in the arts is to provide evidence based practices to guide arts education instruction and make these practices available to all educators and students.

20 Fellows Complete National Program Focused on Georgia

Education Policy Fellowship Class Honored

First Participants Add to State's Expertise in Education

The Education Policy Fellowship Program is an professional development initiative of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) and co-sponsored by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia.

View a list of the first class of graduates and a presentation on the Education Policy Fellowship program. The charge given to the graduates was to "do the difficult work, ask the tough questions, and say what needs to be said".

Press Announcement from GPEE
The inaugural class of the Education Policy Fellowship Program graduated 20 participants June 18 with an observance held at Georgia Power headquarters. The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education brought the national program to the state last October and the first group of Fellows began their 10 month course of instruction.

Georgia State University's Andrew Young School of Public Policy and the Office of the Vice President for Public Service & Outreach at the University of Georgia are co-sponsors. Georgia is one of 13 states and the District of Columbia to offer the unique program designed to build education policy expertise.

The Georgia Partnership has long recognized the need to develop leaders across the state who have a clear understanding of how education policy is made. The organization collaborated with The Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington DC, which oversees the national operation.

Speaking at the program were Dr. Art Dunning and Dr. David Sjoquist representing the University of Georgia and Georgia State University respectively. Both men underlined the importance of the program and encouraged the graduates to use what they had learned to make a difference in education in Georgia.

The program was composed of eight monthly colloquiums, attendance at a national leadership conference in Arizona, and a participation in a National Washington Policy Seminar. Speakers included leaders in a wide variety of subjects including funding, higher education, school choice, early education, politics, the demographic landscape and more.

For more information, contact Kelley Dean (

View complete press announcement.

Thank you to GPEE's Bill Maddox and Kelley Dean for providing the press announcement about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

View Slide Show of Graduation Event

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Picturing America to Picture Success in Muscogee Co. School District

Muscogee County School District & the Picturing America Best Practices Institute

When students leave school for the summer vacation, teachers and administrators can be found still hard at work, refreshing their skills and learning new approaches to support student success. On June 3 and 4, 2009, teachers from Muscogee County School District gathered for a two day workshop inspired by Picturing America, a program of the National Endowment of the Humanities. The group included K-12 teachers in music, visual arts, Spanish, social studies, language arts and media specialists and was organized by Robbie Holt (Director of Arts & Humanities) and her team.

Muscogee County School District, an award recipient from the Picturing America Program, had portfolios of posters on great American art. Many teachers have been using these poster sets as tools to introduce students to the best of American arts and humanities. An example is pictured here: Thomas Hart Benton's The Sources of Country Music. The art work was a catalyst for a robust discussion among the teachers that led in directions as diverse as American History, history of American song, origin of musical instruments, transportation, social & economic influences, etc.

The skills teacher's used for this type of responsive and creative analysis were honed by the presentations, demonstrations and activities offered to the group by the three guest instructors. Object-based learning, literature and music as a focus for a sense of place, art and artifacts for increasing observational skills are some examples of the work the group undertook over the two day period.

The major assignment for all the educators attending the Best Practices Institute was to assemble a piece of art or personal artifact that told a family story. The collection of objects created an instant cultural museum and allowed the whole group to become deeply engaged in the applied lessons from two days of intensive work.

The W.C. Bradley Co. in Columbus, Georgia served as the host and location for the Institute. The building that began as a cotton warehouse in 1885 is now a whole block on the National Historic Register and in the second century of adaptive re-use. Susan Wiggins, Vice President for Stakeholder Relations, gave the group of teachers an overview of the history of the company and the buildings. She pointed out the historic photographs on the walls and artifacts (including Mr. Bradley's desk) throughout the building. The highlight of her presentation was the background and guided tour of the W.C. Bradley Co. Centennial Art Collection. After an extensive national search, 21 artists were commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company by using their art to "document a company, a place, a people, and a place in time." With the historic structures, artifacts and art collection, the W.C. Bradley Co. was the living symbol of the work teachers were undertaking in the Picturing America Best Practices Institute.

About the Instructors

David Johnson is Professor Emeritus from Columbus State University in creative writing and American literature. He is know as a poet and storyteller . His work has been published nationally in juried periodicals and journals.

Kristen S. Hansen is Associate Professor of Music in the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University. Dr. Hansen holds the DMA and the MM in Horn Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. She previously received the degree of Bachelor of Music summa cum lunde from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She plays second horn in the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. At Columbus State, Dr. Hansen is an active teacher and site director with study abroad programs in Paris and Oxford. She is currently engaged in writing a music theory text for undergrduate music majors.

Anne R. King is a veteran museum educator, who most recently has focused on developing interpretive guides and web-based interactive learning sites for museum collections and exhibitions. Her interest in American art and culture and in interdisciplinary learning grew through years of programming and interpretive work at the Columbus Museum.

View Slide Show

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Resources for Science Education


Ask a Georgia school administrator where they would like support in resources or staffing and the most likely reply will be Science or Math. It has been reported that Georgia will need to produce more than 2,000 middle and high school teachers of life sciences, chemistry, earth science and physics by 2010 to meet the demand in those fields. These subjects reflect the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.According to the Board of Regents statistics for the 2008 academic year, only 90 teachers were prepared as Georgia teachers in these areas.

Here is information on programs and resources that address that need.

The National Sciences Foundation recently awarded a grant to Georgia State University to increase the number of science teachers in metro Atlanta schools. The almost $900,000 grant will be used to recruit, prepare and support 36 high quality science educators over the next five years under a program called Impacting Metro-Atlanta Science Teaching (I-MAST). Scholarships will be offered both to undergraduate majors studying in the STEM fields and to graduates who hold degrees in the STEM fields and want to go into teaching the sciences on the secondary level.
The I-MAST program is a collaboration between Georgia State's College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, Georgia Tech and four Metro-Atlanta public school districts.

NASA awarded a $3 million grant to Georgia Tech to support a program that will allow Georgia teachers to strengthen their teachings skills in the STEM fields. Georgia Tech's Distance Learning and Professional Education (DLPE) Center for Education Integrating Science, Math and Computing (CEISMC) will take the lead on The Electronic Professional Development Network Grant. The purpose of the program will be to prepare, produce, deliver and evaluate NASA-related online courses, workshops and experiences for the benefit of STEM educators in Georgia and across the nation.


Chemistry & Physics consists of two series teaching high school college preparatory chemistry and physics. Chemistry: A Study of Matter and Physics Fundamentals provide instructional content delivered through thirty-minute episodes and integrated classroom materials. Episodes provide content while giving cues for the classroom teacher to pause the program and interact with students, engaging them in discussions, problem-solving, and laboratory activities. Chemistry: A Study of Matter and Physics Fundamentals can be streamed from this site or GPB Education Streaming.

For each unit, daily lesson plans will be provided to help teachers prepare for and pace the lessons. Classroom materials, including note-taking guides to accompany the episodes, worksheets, classroom activities, quizzes, and tests, are available in electronic format. Teachers should call GPB Education at 1.888.501.8960 or email to request teacher materials.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Opportunity to Apply to the Education Policy Fellowship Program


The Education Policy Fellowship Program
(EPFP) began in 2008 as an initiative of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. EPFP is a professional development program that provides potential leaders with the knowledge and networks to advance the core issues of education policy. Fellows commit to a series of monthly colloquiums, independent study and research and rigourous peer discussions. They use the work environment of their current full-time positions as the context for examining important leadership and policy issues in Georgia.

The EPFP Program is co-sponsored by the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia.

View Program Details.

For more information, contact:
Kelley Dean, GA EPFP Coordinator

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Students Experience Homelessness in Atlanta


Students ages 12-14 who attend The Paideia School exchanged their classroom for the downtown urban environment of Atlanta, Georgia. The topic was homelessness, and the students wanted to know about a lifestyle different from their own and about people they see on the streets. These Middle School students spent 5 days and 4 nights based at Hurt Park armed with just $5.00 for the week, one set of clothes and shoes that did not fit and worn thin by someone else. They spent their days visiting area food banks and shelters.

Georgia Public Broadcasting Reporter Rickey Bevington and Videographer Charlene Fisk met up with the students and provided the video from the interviews. One of the young women reflected:
"It is sad to see homelessness. It is heartbreaking to know that you are riding in your car within your comfortable life while there are people out on the streets struggling".

Monday, June 15, 2009

Creating Great Schools: NW Georgia RESA Leadership Conference

Conference Urges Administrators to Take Schools from Good to Great

School is not out for many of the administrators who work in the school systems located in the Northwest corner of Georgia. On June 10 and 11, 2009, the NW Georgia RESA held the 5th Annual Leadership Conference. Superintendents were joined by principals, assistant principals and curriculum staff from the area's K-12 schools, participating in lectures, panel discussions and breakout sessions.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Phil Schlecty (founder - Center for Leadership in School Reform) introduced the topic of Creating Great Schools. He got the audience thinking about trends in educations such as the way technology is making students independent learners, teachers becoming facilitators and designers of instructional experiences rather than just delivering facts, and the shift away from pushing information on to students but rather creating an array of resources that will allow the students to pull what they need and what they are looking for to solve learning challenges.

The second day began with a presentation given by a panel of distinguished principals who spoke to the Leadership Conference theme based upon their career experiences. Panel Members included: Dr. Molly Howard ( NASSP/Met-Life National POY 2008 - Jefferson Co. HS), Dr. Mark Wilson (NASSP/Met-Life National POY 2009 - Morgan Co. HS), Mr. Chuck Bell (Commerce MS, Commerce City Schools), Mr. Kip McLeod (Hahira MS, Lowndes County), Dr. Jolie Harden (Matt Arthur ES, Huston Co.), and Mrs. Diana Mills (Hickory Hills ES, Marietta City).

With 10-12 Break Out Topics per scheduled session, everyone kept moving, studying and networking. There was not much time to enjoy the hospitality of Rome High School's signature benches.

Georgia Public Broadcasting was honored to be included in the list of presenters for the Break Out Sessions. Conference participants attending the two sessions got an overview of GPB's broadcast, web and new media resources designed to support Georgia's learning community.

Rome High School served as the host for the NW Georgia RESA's 5th Annual Leadership Conference.

What Will Middle School Be Like?


Is everything my older brother told me true? Will I have too much homework? Will the older students really stuff me in a locker?

Students at Stockbridge Middle School(SMS) worked with their Graduation Coach, Ronda Kustick, to create a video that addresses the fears and myths 5th grade students might have as they prepare for that all important transition from elementary to middle school. Mrs. Kustick knew the importance of these new 6th graders make a successful start to their middle school career. She created the project and worked with her current students to involve them with the full production, from script to filming, in a partnership with a team from Georgia Public Broadcasting to get out the important messages.

The student hosts for the video explain some of the differences from elementary school, i.e. changes classes, what homework is really like, the opportunity to take Connections Classes (Technology, P.E., Chorus, Band, Music and Art). No one in this group has ever been stuffed into a locker, and everyone at the school is ready and willing to help the new students. The Graduation Coach along with academic and sports advisors are just some of the folks available to answer questions. Advice from Robert, one of the actors: "Listen to what the teachers say because they mean well and they are preparing you for high school".

What did this year's SMS students think about the video project esperience?
"Filming a video is one of the most amazing things I have done. Our patience and acting skills were tested. There were many things we had to do, but it was enjoyable and exciting."

"I learned that it takes a lot to make one movie. It was all an amazing experience, one that was fun and interesting. It was tiring doing our lines over and over, but worth the experience. It's very cool to be a kid-celebrity in school. I enjoyed the chanllenge and the worth-while experience".

Mrs. Kustick
reports that the video was well received by all the rising 6th graders and their parents who got to view the video in early May.

For more information on this project, contact:
Ronda Bowe Kustick
Middle School Graduation Coach
Stockbrige Middle School

View the video.

Slide Show from Stockbridge Middle School

Friday, June 12, 2009

Effective Mentoring Programs


Tuesday, June 16, 2009
3:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern Time

The Positive Effects of Mentoring

presented by
Kate Schineller

*Learn what you need to know to run effective mentoring programs.

*Find out about a project that provides mentors for children of incarcerated parents.

Mentoring is one of the most effective and certainly the most economical dropout prevention strategies. In order to have positive effects, mentoring needs to incorporate the right elements, i.e. The Elements of Effective Practice. Kate Schineller will present a full program about mentoring, including who needs mentors; what the research says; and program design and planning. She will then introduce listeners to a successful mentoring program for children of prisoners, the Caregiver's Choice Project, a demonstration project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and administered by her organization, MENTOR.

On the day of the webcast, log on 10-30 minutes early to ensure you are connected to the broadcast @

Supplementary materials are now available online. All necessary information about participating fully in this professional development opportunity is found on the website. For further questions, contact the National Dropout Prevention Center or call 864.656.2580.

Participation in this webcast is free and no registration is required. The program will be archived in its entirety on the website. On the day of the webcast, link to the broadcast. This webast is produced with support from Penn Foster. If you have trouble with the link, copy and paste the entire address listed below into your web browser:,P1,F063CEFD-2B16-4933-9440-BC7ACFDCF044