Governor's Office of Student Achievement

November 2014 Monthly Update

November E-Bulletin:
Georgia's Early Education Empowerment Zones

Last year, Georgia became one of twenty states to win funding from the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant. In its $51.7 million winning application, Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) outlined a plan to reform Georgia’s system of early learning and development (ELD) to increase the quality of ELD programs and promote child readiness outcomes.

The Early Education Empowerment Zones (E3Zs) are one of the key projects in Georgia’s plan for system reform. The four E3Zs will serve as case studies for implementing strategies specifically designed to improve the quality of ELD by fostering community collaboration. More specifically, the goals of the E3Zs initiative are to (1) increase the availability of high-quality ELD options for children with high needs, (2) integrate new or expanded initiatives in 3-star programs that are specifically focused on children with high needs, and (3) identify drivers for scale-up feasibility for each strategy.

This month's e-bulletin describes the  E3Zs, how they were identified, and what services they will provide.

Click here to read the full e-bulletin.
The Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) strives to increase student achievement and school completion across Georgia through meaningful, transparent, and objective analysis and communication of statewide data. In addition, GOSA provides policy support to the Governor and, ultimately, to the citizens of Georgia.

Gov. Deal Announces Program to Help Inmates Earn Diplomas

Gov. Nathan Deal announced that the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Mountain Education Center Charter School have partnered together to offer high school courses at Arrendale State Prison in Habersham County, which will help inmates complete their high school educations and receive diplomas.

“With seven out of every 10 Department of Corrections inmates lacking a high school diploma or GED, it is of the utmost importance that while individuals are in our criminal justice system, we do a better job of raising their education and skills to an adequate level,” said Deal. “If an offender has been equipped to enter the workforce upon release, that person will stand a greater chance of avoiding relapse. This program will provide Georgia’s inmates the opportunity to change the direction of their lives.”

Arrendale houses 1,400 female inmates. Teachers from the Mountain Education Charter School will use online, self-paced instructional programming for those who are identified as suitable candidates for the program. The program is scheduled to begin on Jan. 15, 2015.

Click here to read the full press release.
GOSA Publishes Dashboard on Race to the Top Lowest-Achieving Schools

GOSA recently released a report on the progress of Lowest-Achieving Schools from 2010 to 2013. The report serves as a dashboard for indicators of turnaround efforts.  The 39 Lowest-Achieving Schools were identified as part of Georgia’s Race to the Top Grant, and GOSA is charged with evaluating the fidelity of implementation and the effectiveness of turnaround efforts in these schools.  While some schools have made strides to improve student achievement, most schools have fallen short of the grant’s expectations for dramatic increases.

Click here to read the full report.

Click here to learn more about the Race to the Top Statewide Evaluation.

Innovation Fund Projects "Open Students' Minds"

The US Department of Education’s Progress blog recently highlighted the success of two Innovation Fund projects that focus on increasing students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  For example, students at the Rockdale 21st Century Academy of Environmental Studies learn environmental science, bioengineering, and biomedicine through experiments and discussion, and students at STEM for Life work in paid apprenticeships at Southwire, a local power cable manufacturer.

Early survey results show these programs are increasing students’ interest in pursuing STEM-related credentials and careers.  These programs are funded through GOSA’s Innovation Fund, which supports local education authorities, schools, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations in planning, implementing and scaling innovative education programs that advance student achievement throughout Georgia. 

To read the full blog post, click here.

To learn more about GOSA’s Innovation Fund, click here.

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