By: Stuart Bennett | January 21, 2011, 3:10 pm

The January meeting of the Georgia State Board of Education finally happened today after a one week Ice delay. Originally scheduled for January 13th, the first meeting for newly sworn in State Superintendent John Barge was a long, single day affair.  The board’s agenda in and by itself was uneventful; it was the policy discussion surrounding possible changes to Georgia’s controversial math program that proved to be the most noteworthy discussion of the day. Dr. Barge also introduced the new members of his leadership team:  Joel Thornton, Chief of Staff; Mike Buck, Chief Academic Officer; Avis King Deputy Superintendent for School Improvement; Sylvia Hooker, Deputy Superintendent for Turnaround Schools and Dan Carter, Deputy Superintendent for external Affairs and Policy.  Dr. Martha Reichrath, will remain in place as deputy for Curriculum and Instruction and Assessment. We are honored that Dr. Reichrath also serves as the DOE representative on the GAEL board of Directors.

While the day was long, Dr. Barge’s first meeting was a very productive one; with the following actions being taken.

The board took action on several rules and system waivers this afternoon:

  • Adopted amendments to Rule 160-4-4-.10 LEARNING RESOURCES SELECTION AND RECOMMENDATION to expand the definition of textbooks and learning resources. The amendments include computer hardware, software, and technical equipment in the definition of Learning Resources.
  • Adopted amendments to Rule 160-4-2-.07 INSTRUCTION IN UNITED STATES AND GEORGIA HISTORY AND GOVERNMENT.  The amendments reflect legislation requiring the study of the Pledge of Allegiance to the US and Georgia flags.
  • Adopted amendments to Rule 160-4-2-.03 state-funded k-8 subjects and 9-12 courses for students entering ninth grade prior to 2008.
  • Reinitiated amendments to Rule 160-4-2-.20 state-funded k-8 subjects and 9-12 courses for students entering ninth grade in 2008 and subsequent years.  The rule was reinitiated to reflect changes in delivery of the mathematics curriculum.  If approved in the March meeting, mathematics support classes in high school grades will earn either core or elective credits for students entering high school in 2008, 2009, and 2010. This change will modify the current rule to include this year’s freshman class. The Department also is considering modifying approved delivery methods for the mathematics curriculum.  If adopted, school districts will be given flexibility (for students entering high school in 2011 and after) of offering a traditional delivery of mathematics courses, an integrated delivery of mathematics courses, or a combination of both.  Stay tuned.
  • Reinitiated repeal of the current versions of Rule 160-5-2-.04 state salaries and supplements and rule 160-5-2-.05 experience for salary purposes.  The rules relate to teachers possessing leadership degrees and supplements for math and science teachers.
  • Approved waivers of Board rules: Alternative Education Program -- Bartow and Bibb; Personnel Required -- Lincoln, Thomasville, Union; Minimum Direct Instruction -- Pulaski, Vidalia, Wayne, Wilkinson, Worth

The board took action on the following charter schools Items:

  • Approved an implementation grant, $400,000, for Fulton Sunshine Academy.
  • Terminated the charter for Effingham Gateway to College Academy.
  • Did not act to overrule decisions by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission to deny eight petitions for a charter. Thus, actions of the Commission on these petitions are confirmed.
  • Did not act to overrule decisions by the Georgia Charter Schools Commission to approve charters for Chattahoochee Hills Charter School, Cherokee Charter Academy, Georgia Connections Academy, and Heritage Preparatory Academy. Thus, actions of the Commission on these petitions are confirmed.

The Board approved the following Contracts and Grants:

  • Contract amendment, Clovis Technologies, $955,000, for temporary staffing for the Department Instructional Technology Division.
  • Grant, Title I Distinguished Schools Awards, $1,968,746, to Title I Schools making four or more consecutive years of AYP.
  • Grant, Title ID, Ga. Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, $1,186,929.
  • Grant reallocation, 21st Century Learning Centers, $751,805 transferred from Gainesville City to the Georgia Mountains YMCA.
  • Contract, National Center for Improving Educational Assessments, $103,500, for technical assistance in the evaluation and selection of a growth/value added model for student performance.
  • Contract, Georgia Department of Audits, $675,000, for audits of the Department of Education and various local units of administration.
  • Grants, Title IA, School Improvement Allocation Amendment, $78,138, to Elizabeth Andrews High (DeKalb), for school improvement services.

In other actions the board:

  • Reappointed Tom Lewis to the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.
  • Accepted funding of $1,359,962 from the Gates Foundation to support implementation of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.
  • Accepted a settlement of $500,371.56 for the benefit of the Georgia Academy for the Blind, Georgia School for the Deaf and Atlanta Area School for the Deaf.  The settlement relates to the $1 million winnings by former State Superintendent Kathy Cox on the show, "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"
  • Approved posting of Georgia Performance Standards for Fundamentals of Geospatial Science and Technology and Application of Geospatial Science and Technology.
  • Adopted Bylaws of the State Board of Education.
  • Adopted the appeal hearing decision affirming the Department's decision to terminate the 21st Century Learning Center grant for the Osborne Cluster Community Learning Center.

The next scheduled regular meeting of the Board is February 9-10.