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GSO to GO Newsletter - March 2010

General Information

Georgia has 12th Highest Percent of Seniors Scoring a 3 or Higher on AP Exams

On February 17, 2010 the Georgia Department of Education shared that Georgia has the 12th highest percent of seniors scoring a 3 or higher on Advanced Placement (AP) Exams.  This is according to The College Board's AP Report to the Nation released in early February 2010. This report measures progress of the class of 2009.

"I am proud that more Georgia students than ever are challenging themselves with demanding course work and are successfully mastering the material," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. "We recognize that one of the best ways to close the achievement gap is to challenge all students with rigorous work and high expectations."

Advanced Placement classes and exams are administered by the College Board, which also administers the SAT. AP classes offer rigorous college-level learning options to students in high school. Students who receive a 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams may receive college credit.

The AP Report to the Nation looks at data for 2009 High School seniors. Among Georgia's public high school seniors in 2009:

  • 17.8% scored a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam during high school. That is higher than the national average of 15.9%.
  • Georgia is tied for 2nd in the nation when comparing the five-year increase of public school seniors scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam (5.4% growth compared to 3.2% for the nation.)
  • Georgia ranks 3rd in the nation for its one-year increase of public school seniors scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam (1.5% growth compared to 0.7% for the nation.)

When it comes to public school students enrolling in AP courses and taking the exams, Georgia is also a national leader. Only one other state in the country had a greater one-year increase in the number of AP exam-takers and number of exams given. The number of AP exams taken by Georgia's public school seniors increased 3.3% since 2008, compared to a 1.5% national average increase.

AP Growth Among all Students

Almost 64,000 Georgia students in all grades took at least one AP exam in 2008-2009, an increase of more than 11 percent from the previous year. Georgia's AP population continues to get more diverse as well, with more African-American and Hispanic students taking the rigorous classes.

"We know in Georgia that we must continue to close the achievement gap, and that's why it is so important that more of our minority students are taking these rigorous AP courses and doing well on the exams," Superintendent Cox said. "This AP report shows that Georgia is a leader in minority test-takers and success. We have work left to be done, but we are making tremendous progress."

During the 2008-2009 school year, more than 12,300 African-American public school students (all grades) took an AP exam. That's an increase of 17 percent from the previous year and represents more than 10 percent of all public school African-American test-takers nationwide. There were 3,507 Hispanic students (all grades) that took at least one AP exam in 2008-2009, an increase of more than 19% from the previous year.

According to the AP Report to the Nation, among Georgia's high school seniors:

  • More than 23% of students who took an AP exam in 2008-2009 were African-American, an increase of almost one percentage point from the previous year.
  • 11.4% of Georgia's African-American high school seniors scored 3 or higher on at least one AP exam. That is almost eight points higher than the national average.
  • About 5.6% of Georgia's AP test takers were Hispanic, higher than Georgia's overall Hispanic student population (5.5 percent).

State Efforts to Increase AP Participation

The State of Georgia has undertaken many successful efforts to increase participation in AP programs and success on AP exams. Among the initiatives:

  • At the request of Governor Perdue and Superintendent Cox, the Legislature has approved money to pay for students to take one AP exam per year. Economically-disadvantaged students can have all of their AP exams paid for each year.
  • The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has organized the distribution of AP Teacher Quality Training Grants. Since 2006, the GaDOE has funded approximately $717,000 in grant awards to train 869 new AP teachers. These awards have allowed 573 new AP courses to be offered in public high schools throughout the state. It is anticipated that in 2010 an additional 282 AP teachers will be trained.
  • The GaDOE has sponsored regional workshops for teachers of AP in the fall for the past three years. These workshops are led by master teachers of AP in Georgia high schools. To date, over 1,600 AP teachers have participated in these course-specific workshops.
  • The Georgia Virtual School (GAVS) continues to add AP classes, increasing access to students throughout the state, including those that might not otherwise be able to take an AP class. In 2008-2009, 578 students enrolled in 20 different AP courses. The Georgia Virtual School will begin offering AP Spanish in Fall 2010.
  • The GaDOE developed the AP Handheld Project this year and gave $64,580 in grants to 56 schools for the purchase of handheld technology for students to use in their courses.

AP Honor Schools

Superintendent Cox also named more than 125 AP Honor Schools.

"Georgia is making tremendous strides with Advanced Placement -- not only in the number of students taking the courses, but in the number of students having success," Superintendent Cox said. "Much of that progress comes from the dedication to rigor and excellence at each of our AP Honor Schools."
The 2010 AP Honor Schools are named in three categories, based on the results of 2008-2009 AP classes and exams:

  • AP CHALLENGE SCHOOLS: Schools with fewer than 900 students that are offering AP classes in the four core areas of English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science
  • AP ACCESS & SUPPORT SCHOOLS: Schools with 30% of AP test takers that are African-American or Hispanic and at least 30% of all AP exams scoring 3 or higher
  • AP MERIT SCHOOLS: Schools with at least 20% of students taking AP exams and at least half of the AP exams scoring a 3 or higher

> Georgia's AP Report
> AP Charts and Data

GeorgiaStandards.Org Update - New GPS

Fine Arts

The Georgia Performance Standards support the arts in the “academic” standing in that mere participation is not the same as education. The standards affirm that discipline and rigor are critical to high academic achievement. Performance-based assessment has long been used in the arts that include the practice of portfolio review in the visual arts and the assessment of performance skills through auditions used in dance, music, and theatre. The content of the standards for the arts attends to creating, performing, and responding which is consistent with and informs the perspective of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  Teachers can now browse the fine arts standards on GSO or access the new standards by K – 5, 6 – 8  or 9 – 12  grade bands.

Health Education

The new Georgia Performance Standards for Health Education are content standards and provide an outline for curriculum development. They are not a curriculum, nor do they constitute objectives for a curriculum. However, they reflect the most recent concept in health curricula, which is to provide a framework from which curricula can be developed that are appropriate for state and local needs. The new Georgia Performance Standards for Health Education are based on the eight National Health Education Standards, copyright 2007, developed by the Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards which consisted of representatives from the following organizations and agencies: American Association for Health Education, American School Health Association, American Public Health Association, and the Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

The National and Georgia Standards for Health Education are designed to incorporate into a curricula the following six priority adolescent risk behaviors identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and other Drug Use, Injury and Violence (including Suicide), Tobacco Use, Poor Nutrition, Inadequate Physical Activity, and Risky Sexual Behavior. The standards also are designed to encompass a wide range of the following common content areas: Community Health, Consumer Health, Environmental Health, Family Life, Mental/Emotional Health, Injury Prevention/Safety, Nutrition, Personal Health, Prevention/Control of Disease, and Substance Use/Abuse.

The standards reflect what a health educated student should know and be able to do at each grade level (K-12). The eight Georgia Performance Standards for Health Education with accompanying elements are provided for each grade level. The elements are provided to further define the knowledge and skills that are expected of students at the end of a lesson or unit of study. Examples are provided for each element and can serve as guidelines for assessing student performance. Rather than defining curriculum, these standards provide guidance for designing appropriate health education curriculum. In addition, the standards demonstrate that health education has meaningful, significant content and measurable outcomes. The standards can and should be used to guide the development of state frameworks (ultimately helping to develop local curriculum) and /or directly guide the design of local curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

> Download the Georgia Performance Standards for Health Education (PDF)

GeorgiaStandards.Org Update - New Proposed GPS Posted for Public Review

Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE)

CTAE has posted a draft copy of eight revised courses on GeorgiaStandards.Org and revisions are posted for public review for 60 days.  If you do review the proposed CTAE standards, please take the time and provide online feedback to the Georgia Department of Education.  Should you have any questions and/or concerns about the proposed CTAE standards, please contact:  Ann Hatchell, HS CTAE Curriculum Coordinator at (404) 657-6845 or  Here are the eight proposed high school course:

1.  Animal Science Technology/Biotechnology
2.  Appropriate and Alternative Energy Technologies
3.  Energy and Power Technology
4.  Equine Science
5.  Food and Nutrition through the Lifespan
6.  Food Science
7.  Introduction to Biotechnology
8.  Plant Science and Biotechnology

> CTAE Online Feedback


Below are the approved standards for two science courses.  These new science standards are posted for public review for 60 days.  Please direct comments or questions to Juan-Carlos Aguilar, Science Program Manager at  Here are links to the two courses:

Atlanta Hawks & Thrashers CRCT Program

The Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers are excited to kick off their first ever CRCT Program.  As an organization, the Hawks and Thrashers would like to reward students for their hard work while preparing for the CRCT by offering them a free ticket and a discounted adult ticket!

Teachers, parents, principals and counselors are encouraged to share this program with their schools. Access the Hawks and Thrashers CRCT certificates where students can chose one of six games to attend for free.  Also, be sure to visit the Hawks and Thrashers page to watch a video message from Hawks Superstar Josh Smith giving students important test taking tips for the CRCT!  If you have any questions or concerns about the Atlanta Hawks & Thrashers CRCT Program, please contact Ryan Brown at 404-878-3463 or

Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers

The Georgia Peach Award is an excellent program that highlights and promotes the best current young adult literature for high school students. Teens vote for their favorite books out of the year's top 20 nominees at their high schools and local public libraries. Teens should vote soon, they need to select for their favorites by Friday, March 12th, 2010.  Additional information is available on the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers website.

Georgia Read More Guarantees Minty Fresh Breath!

Looking for a great center idea during your reading block?  Then have student groups huddle around the classroom computer to watch this month’s featured Georgia Read More video of the book, Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble With Hally Tosis.  Some lucky Union County Elementary School students received the checkered flag to listen to NASCAR sensation Bill Elliot read this great tale about a dog who eventually becomes a household hero because of doggy breath.  Dav Pilkey is both the author and illustrator of Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble With Hally Tosis.  Teachers can also download a PDF copy of the vocabulary words of the story.  After watching this month’s video, it will probably have you and your students craving for some peppermint, right?

Discovery Education and Siemens Foundation STEM Academy

The Georgia Performance Standards are the result of work that combines state and national curriculum standards from high-performing states and nations such as Michigan, Texas, North Carolina and Japan.  The guidelines of national organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science were also followed by the Georgia Department of Education in the development of the GPS.  At GeorgiaStandards.Org, we are always trying to gather valuable (science, technology, engineering and math) resources that STEM teachers can utilize to supplement their standards-based classrooms.

Just recently, Discovey Education and the Siemens Foundation launched a multi-faceted STEM program called the Siemens STEM Academy that includes:

  • A premier on-line community designed exclusively to foster STEM achievement through the sharing of best practices
  • A monthly webinar series that will feature today’s leading scientists, academics, and personalities such as Dr. Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist and host of Science Channel’s Sci Fi Science: Physics of the Impossible, to excite students and provide teachers with actionable recommendations for integrating STEM into the classroom
  • A week-long STEM immersion program that will enable 50 select teachers to meet in Washington, D.C. to engage with today’s critical science thinkers and other peers from across the nation and visit leading institutions to see real-world applications of STEM subject matter
  • A two-week residential professional development program, Siemens Teachers As Researchers (STARS), for select middle school and high school teachers in which teachers engage in mentored research projects with top scientists and researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN

> Visit the STEM Academy

Order a Free Science Teacher Kit

Are you about to start investigating relationships between force, mass, and the motion of objects with your students?  How about having your students explore the scientific concepts of jet propulsion, friction, air resistance and design?  Well, A World in Motion has some great science materials available to all K-12 teachers for free!  Elementary, middle and high school schools can request a free science kit by downloading and completing a form.  Please note that each school qualifies for one complimentary kit per year.  However, schools can purchase additional kits if needed from World in Motion’s Request a Kit page.

> Related GPS: S4P3, S5P3, S8P3, SPS10

Continuing Education

41st Annual Conference on Children’s Literature

Athens, Georgia is hosting the 41st Annual Conference on Children’s Literature from March 19 - 20, 2010.  K-8 teachers, library media specialists, public librarians and others interested in children’s literature will enjoy this venue.  The conference will take place in the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center & Hotel, which is located on the historic campus of the University of Georgia in Athens.  Learn more about the tentative agenda, conference events or Georgia Children’s Book Awards Program by visiting the Children’s Literature conference page.

Free Educational Online Conference

The Digital Innovation Group @ Georgia College will be hosting the third Collaborative Digital Education Series (The Roadmap to Successful Implementations - Session #2) this year online via Wimba on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 9:00 - 3:00 EST.  Thanks to the Georgia College partners, this event will be free to help you in these difficult budget times.  The online conference is intended for both K-12 and Higher Education individuals who want to explore the concepts of 1 to 1 technology initiatives and innovative student engagement in each setting. Presentations will be done by three institutions on their successful implementations. Conference participants will go on a live tour of the St. Agnes Academy & St. Dominic School in Tennessee, as well as interact with presenters from the Rowan - Salisbury School System's Cleveland Elementary School in North Carolina and the Shenandoah University in Virginia.  The conference is free but all participants are required to register.  Connections are limited so register early.

All the World's a Stage

Teachers of grades 4-12 have the opportunity to earn five Professional Learning Units (PLUs) by registering for No Fear Shakespeare, a class which is accredited by the Georgia Department of Education. Learn the newest techniques behind making Shakespeare fun for your students in a casual, relaxed environment. Teachers of grades 4 - 5 will become acquainted with Shakespeare's stories and explore innovative ways of introducing them to young students. Teachers of grades 6 - 12 will have the opportunity to blow off the dust of the pages and look at Shakespeare's material differently, making the work more relevant to today's older students. Georgia Shakespeare's professional staff will help make sure your student's eyes don't glaze over at the mere mention of the "bard," ensuring that they achieve the building blocks necessary for future education.

  • When: Monday thru Friday, June 7th – 18th, 2008
  • Cost: $200
  • Time: 9:00 - 2:00 Daily
  • Where: Conant Performing Arts Center
  • Contact: Allen O'Reilly, at 404-504-3401 or email Allen at

Sixth Annual Teacher Conservation Workshop

The Teacher Conservation Workshop is a weeklong workshop (June 21-25, 2010) that uses the forest as a window to environmental education.  Activities are led by foresters, biologists, educators, and industry professionals.  This interdisciplinary workshop focuses on the environmental, economical and social benefits of Georgia’s forestry and wildlife communities. Sessions take place mostly outdoors in the forest and in manufacturing facilities and will demonstrate the cycle of growing trees and managing for wildlife.

The Teacher Conservation Workshop is recommended for Georgia educators working with grades 5-12, informal educators, and senior or graduate pre-service educators may apply. This workshop is an introductory course for non-forestry and non-wildlife educators and requires a commitment to spend the entire week in this educational setting. Moderate physical exertion will be required to attend the sessions and field trips. These facilities and operations we visit may be very hot, unpleasant smelling and we may be exposed to insects.

Registration is $35 per person, and includes all teaching materials, food, lodging and transportation during the workshop. Transportation to and from Charlie Elliott Wildlife Conference Center in Mansfield is the responsibility of the individual.  Workshop is limited to the first qualified 30 participants. A waiting list will be kept in case of cancellations.  For more information and to downlaod the application visit Georgia Forestry Association.

Learning Celebrations and Teaching Ideas

March in Georgia History

March is a month full of history for Georgia and The New Georgia Encyclopedia has many articles celebrating these important events.  On March 3, 1540, conquistador Hernando de Soto along with his army entered southern Georgia.  Savannah harbor was the scene of the Battle of the Rice Boats in early March of 1776, a conflict involving British warships and rice-laden merchant ships.  March 1898 is also when George V. Gress donated the Cyclorama a painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta.  This enormous cultural treasure, which is currently housed at the Atlanta Cyclorama & Civil War Museum in Grant Park, stands at 42 feet tall and 358 feet in circumference making it the largest painting in the United States.  U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had visited Georgia forty-one times over the course of three decades.  Most of Roosevelt’s visits were to the pools in Warm Springs that were reported to have healing properties.  FDR would seek therapy to try and rebuild his leg muscles from the weakening effects of polio.  In March 1945, President Roosevelt would visit the Little White House in Warm Springs for the last time, where he would die a few weeks later.  A rare video clip of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Warm Springs is provided courtesy of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

March EDSITEment Calendar of Special Events

The March calendar from EDSITEment is jam-packed with holidays, special events, lesson plans and websites for teachers.  March 4, 1917 is the day that Jeanette Rankin, peace activist and suffragist, was elected as the first woman to the U.S. House of Representatives.  African-American abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman passed away on March 10, 1913.  EDSITEment has a great lesson plan to honor Tubman’s achievements by introducing students to the role that spirituals played in African American history.  Janet Reno becomes the first woman US Attorney General on March 12, 1993 and along with this accomplishment, EDSITEment offers the lesson plan Women’s Equality: Changing Attitudes and BeliefsUncle Tom’s Cabin is published by white abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe on March 20, 1852.  American poet Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874.  Here is a lesson plan that ELA teachers in grades 6-8 can use to discuss poems by Robert Frost with students.

Women’s History Month

March is designated as National Women’s History month.  The chosen theme for 2010 is Writing Women Back into History which recognizes a different aspect of women’s achievements, from ecology to art, and from sports to politics..  A colorful brochure (PDF) includes a 2010 women’s history quiz and a list of all the honorees  are available.  Don’t forget to visit Georgia Women of Achievement (GWA), a nonprofit organization that honors extraordinary women of Georgia.   Teacher’s can also access lesson plans and resources highlighting a Woman of Accomplishment Scavenger Hunt and Women of the Century: Education World Webquest that is sure to pique the interest of any digital detective in your class.

World Meteorological Day

Every year there is a global celebration of weather awareness through World Meteorological Day.  This year the event is being observed on March 23, 2010.  According to the NASA Aeronautical and Astronautical logs, the first World Meteorological Day was observed by 50 nations in 1961!  Kick-off this celebration in your classroom by downloading the official World Meteorological Organization brochure

Students Would Love a Piece of this Pi

March 14 (3/14/2010) is Pi Day, a celebration for one of our favorite numbers, 3.14. And if that was not a reason to rejoice with your math students, March 14 also marks the birth date of Albert Einstein. There is a googol of ideas for grades 3-12 teachers including songs, trivia games and poetry over at Education World.  Your students can even see Pi with one million digits over at the official Pi Day site.

March is Music in our Schools Month

Music lovers of all ages should cheer that March is Music in our Schools Month. If you ever wanted your class to produce their own opera, then you should take a look at this article on a second grade opera company.  Education World has a link compilation about symphonies, song writing and music education that even the judges of American Idol would like.  Education Place is highlighting a melody of links and featuring a music writing prompt for March.

Are you Wearing Green?

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this March in your classroom with the many green activities, resources and ideas from Education World.  Student geography skills can be put to the test in the streets of Dublin, Ireland.  The map of the official St. Patrick’s Festival Parade can be tracked along with all the key event locations of this event.  Your students can even interact with a Google Map of Dublin, Ireland by zooming in and out of the emerald isle’s capital city or by toggling between map, satellite or terrain views.

> March 2010 Calendar Word Template (DOC)

Related Information