The Bulletin

Division of School & District Effectiveness

April 2015

"Improving on Your Previous Best"


The SDE Bulletin: to provide regular, timely information to increase the shared understanding of our team of School & District Effectiveness professionals

Our Shared SDE Purpose: to increase collective leadership capacity to understand what effective schools and districts know and do, and to support the leaders to own their improvement process

Previous Editions of The Bulletin

This Month

It is my hope that the SDE PL in March was helpful in giving you needed information and a glimpse at our Division direction. As I consider our Division direction, I thought I would let you in on some of the questions I constantly ask myself and others:

Where ARE we trying to go?

We are striving to be the best Division at the GaDOE, and then the best Division in any SEA in the country.

Why in the world would we want to strive for that?

I'm not very competitive (I am uninterested in playing games not because I don't want to lose but because I hate seeing others lose). But, the work you all are doing is critical. It's why I wanted to join Dr. Lunsford's team. Improving the schooling of our state's lowest performing schools is a profound charge. I can think of little that's more important. So, I am not interested in the SDE Division being the best in the country so we can get an award or any recognition; instead, I want us to be the best so that we are giving the children in our schools the best we have to offer, the best there is to offer. If we are the best, then we will have effective, quality leadership in front of the classrooms of all the students, led by effective leadership in each school, led by effective leadership in each district. We can't go into each classroom or school or district office and teach and lead. However, we can play a significant role in the development of highly effective teacher leaders and school/district leaders. Our students deserve our best!

How are we going to get there?

1. We are going to get our house more in order;

2. We are going to work until we get a shared understanding of our collective direction and our roles and responsibilities;

3. We are going to develop lots of useful tools for schools and districts to use to get better;

4. We are going to make these tools, and all pertinent information, accessible to those who need it (school and district leaders);

5. As we create and inform, we are going to do so from the end-users' perspective and for their benefit, not ours;

6. We are going to work until we have an effective communication processes within our Division and with our schools and districts;

7. We are going to make the foundation of our work the standards (school and district), the review and monitoring of progress on those standards, and the improvement process;

8. We are going to think and act as leaders;

9. We are going to look for as many bridges as we can, and build them where they don't exist;

10. We are going to refrain from blame; instead, we are going to see difficulties as opportunities to teach others how do to do better;

11. We are going to be known as the group of folks who treat others like who they truly are: special, unique, invaluable.

How will we know if our Division is moving the needle?

Of course we want to keep our eyes on the numbers of schools each year that meet the exit criteria. That's the bottom line--almost "summative"-- metric we look at. However, in the interim, we are going to all aim as a Division at dramatically improving the schools' and districts' capabilities and practices in the areas of:

1. collaborative, data-informed planning and improvement processes;

2. monitoring the effectiveness of professional learning plans and implementation.

Sounds simple. And it is. It's just not easy. We are going to unpack over and over what these standards really mean. We are going to have to find out where our schools and districts are at present related to these standards. We are going to have to teach what they mean to schools and districts, many times and in many ways. We are going to build and offer tools and resources in these areas. And we are going to chart their progress via Indistar. Working collaboratively as a Division on these goals is going to tell us a lot about the schools and districts, and about ourselves.

So, that's where we are going. I'm honored to be on the journey with you all!


from Professional Learning (Joann Hooper)

In her book, Leading Professional Learning Communities, Shirley Hord, an education researcher who identified the characteristics of professional learning communities before Dufour made them popular, talks about monitoring. “Monitoring is a time consuming task….And, there is no way to check progress or monitor appropriately unless there is clarity about what is being monitored. One of the most frequent failures of changing schools for improvement is lack of a clear focus or mental image of what the intended change really looks like.” From the beginning of the year we have mentioned at each professional learning meeting our vision “Our Future: Quality leadership resulting in effective instruction and learning for all students in every Georgia district, school, and classroom” This is our mental image of how our work will change the schools we serve. At each or our professional learning meetings we have provided presenters and information that will help us move towards meeting our vision.

The summer calendar:

June 8-9 SDE/ RESA Professional Learning – Macon- We will begin with lunch at 11:30 on June 8th

June 10- Professional Learning Collaborative Meeting- Macon-All SDE and RESAs are invited to attend

June 11-12 SIG Cohort 3 Sustainability Training- Macon-Schools and Selected SDE will attend

July 21-23- SDE/RESA Professional Learning- Macon – More information will be forth coming

Math Institutes:

See the flyer on the Math website:

Please remember you are responsible for attending all three days of the session you chose and you need to make any lodging reservations through Concur.

Strategy of the Month:

Each month we’ll provide a PL strategy that could be used with adults or students. Our goal is to deepen learning and engage the learner.

Title: 10 Reflective Questions to Ask at the End of a Class/Workshop/Presentation

Some of these questions are great for us we complete our work with our schools for the year.


  1. Reflect on your thinking, learning, and work today. What were you most proud of?
  2. Where did you encounter struggle today, and what did you do to deal with it?
  3. What about your thinking, learning, or work today brought you the most satisfaction? Why?
  4. What is frustrating you? How do you plan to deal with that frustration?
  5. What lessons were learned from failure today?
  6. Where did you meet success, and who might benefit most from what you’ve learned along the way? How can you share this with them?
  7. What are your next steps? Which of those steps will come easiest? Where will the terrain become rocky? What can you do now to navigate the road ahead with the most success?
  8. What made you curious today?
  9. How did I help you today? How did I hinder you? What can I do tomorrow to help you more?
  10. How did you help the class today? How did you hinder the class today? What can you do tomorrow to help other learners more?

Intended Audience: Students or Adults

Source: 10 Reflective Questions to Ask at the End of Class

from Technical Assistance & Support (Paulette Richmond)

Our new School and District Effectiveness website

We’re working on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for our website. Consider questions you or schools/districts may ask related to the following:

- Priority schools

- Focus schools

- Alert schools

- Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement Funding

Please forward questions to by April 2, 2015.

Save the date

April 3, 2015- IT Support/updates webinar. Look for an email from Cindy Popp dated March 27 with the link to the webinar.

Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement Funding

Questions to ask or consider as you work with schools/districts:

  • Is the school spending the Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds in accordance with the justification of expenses submitted in October 2014?
  • Has the school revisited and updated the SIP in 2015?
  • How will any changes to the SIP impact Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds?
  • Is the school/district on track to spend all Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds by September 30, 2015?

Cross-Functional Monitoring. In April 2015, the following districts that received Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds will be monitored:

  • Spalding- April 2
  • Liberty- April 2
  • Hart- April 20
  • Bibb- April 21
  • Carrollton City- April 21
  • Twiggs- April 21
  • Carroll- April 22
  • Wilkinson- April 23
  • Elbert- April 28
  • APS- April 28
  • Baldwin- April 30

Please note we’re only sharing information related to the districts that received SI 1003(a) funding. As you know, the Cross-Functional Monitoring process involves other monitoring outside of Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds.

from the Leads (Melba Fugitt)

During March and April, the third quarterly monitoring visits either have been or will be completed. In all the regions the School Effectiveness Specialists continue to provide technical support and professional learning to address ‘next steps’ identified at each monitoring. The timeline for the fourth quarterly monitoring visits is for Priority SIG reports to be completed by the end of May and Priority Non-SIG reports to be completed by the end of June. This year our LEAs also completed monitoring visits. The process has been a learning experience for the LEA, and it also has given us the opportunity to share technical assistance at the district level.

In each Region, the School Effectiveness Specialists are working with Leadership Teams to ensure that tasks are being addressed and timelines met for the short term action plans. Keeping schools focused on their goals during Spring Break and Spring Testing Window is not a simple assignment. Thank you to each SES for the coaching support you provide and for the feedback to impact teacher practices and student learning.

from District Effectiveness (Sam Taylor)

  • Despite weather delays, the DE Team, along with Pat Blenke from C&I, Gary Wenzel, and Mike O’Neal (and Will Rumbaugh for one day), completed the on-site Murray County District Review. The team is currently compiling the data with a report for the district. Working with a typical district was a great experience for the team since many of the districts we’ve worked with in the past have been struggling districts.

  • We would like to give a big “Thank you!” to the 11 SIS, GaDOE SWD, and RESA members that help conduct the 169 K-12 classroom visits conducted in the Murray County Review!

  • Beginning in April, the DE Team will conduct its second pilot review in APS. The team will conclude that review in May.

  • Just a final farewell and best wishes to Bobby Smith as he moves on to new endeavors. We will miss him and the expertise he offered the DE Team.

from SIG (Patty Rooks)

Cohort 3 (July 1, 2013-September 30, 2016)

Bibb County- Matilda Hartley Elementary School; Westside High School

Fulton County- Frank McClarin High School

Gwinnett County- Meadowcreek High School

Quitman County- Quitman County High School

Twiggs County- Twiggs County High School

Wilkinson County- Wilkinson County High School

Cohort 4 (July 1, 2014-September 30, 2017)

Atlanta Public Schools- Frederick Douglass High School

Bibb County- Southwest Magnet High School and Law Academy

Dougherty County- Dougherty Comprehensive High School; Monroe Comprehensive High School

Muscogee County- Fox Elementary School; Jordan Vocational High School; William H. Spencer High School

Fiscal Reminders


Please be reminded that the monthly deadline for drawdowns is the 20th of each month and drawdowns must occur monthly. The drawdown is to include all SIG expenditures from the previous month. Both the LEA and the SEA quarterly monitorings should reflect the level to which these expectations have been met. It is important to note that the timeliness of drawdowns is a critical factor when considering the recommendation for continued funding.

Expenditure of FY15 Funds

The expiration date for the FY15 funds for Cohort 3 and 4 schools is September 30, 2015. In order to ensure timely expenditure of this year’s funds, it is expected that 70% of the FY15 budget be liquidated by April 30th, and that by May 20th, 70% of the budget has been drawn down. For those SIG schools that fail to meet this deadline, an expenditure plan for the remainder of the FY15 funds will be required. The plan must include a narrative for expending the remaining funds, as well as a budget and financial timeline. In addition, a back-up plan should also be prepared for incentives/rewards and unspent funds. The plan must be submitted to Lyndsay Moses and copied to Dr. Patty Rooks and the GaDOE Leads by June 1, 2015. All FY15 grant expenditures must be encumbered by September 30, 2015 and paid by October 31, 2015. Furthermore, unspent SIG 1003(g) funds will not be carried over to the next year.

An email will be sent to the districts explaining the expenditure plan requirements, along with a sample expenditure plan. The district must obtain signatures from the Superintendent (not a designee), Principal and SIG Coordinator/Administrator attesting to the plan and expending the remaining SIG funds.

SIG Program/Budget Amendments

Changes to the SIG budget and/or program require an approved SIG program/budget amendment. Please note the final date for the submission of amendments for the FY15 budget is August 14, 2015.

Cross-Functional Monitoring:

With the exception of Gwinnett County and Muscogee County, all Cohort 3 and Cohort 4 SIG districts will receive a Cross-Functional monitoring this year, which will include fiscal monitoring for 1003(g) SIG. The dates for the Cross-Functional Monitoring are as follows:

Atlanta Public Schools – April 28-May 1, 2015

Bibb County – April 21-23, 2015

Dougherty County – March 19-20, 2015

Fulton County – May 12-15, 2015

Quitman County – March 10-11, 2015

Twiggs County – April 21-22, 2015

Wilkinson County – April 23-24, 2015

LEA Monitoring of SIG Schools

As you know, this year LEAs with SIG Cohort 3 and/or Cohort 4 schools are responsible for submitting four (4) LEA Monitoring Reports in Indistar for each of their SIG schools. The format and content of the monitoring report was revised to allow the SIG Coordinator, in collaboration with key leaders at the district level, to assess the level of progress of the LEA/school in implementing the SIG indicators.

The electronic LEA Monitoring Report forms are accessed through the District Dashboard and completed and submitted within Indistar. The Q4 LEA Monitoring Report is due April 30th.

In the event that an indicator is either not progressing at an expected rate or not evident, an interim or “follow-up” LEA monitoring of only those indicators is required and submitted in Indistar utilizing the appropriate LEA Monitoring Report “follow-up” form. If all indicators are either progressing at an expected rate or fully implemented, completion and submission of the “follow-up” Monitoring Report form is not required.

2014-2015 Reward Incentives Plan

As noted last month, the approved 2014-2015 Reward Incentives Plan is to be uploaded as a document in Indistar. Please be certain your school has uploaded their 2014-2015 Reward Incentives Plan in the Reward Incentives Plans folder in their “file cabinet”. Likewise, please ensure that funding for the Plan that is tied to data that will not be available until the fall has been/will be amended into the 2015-16 budget.

Please be reminded that the process by which the 2014-2015 Reward Incentives Plan was determined, as well as the notification of the GaDOE approved Plan to the school staff, should be documented by the schools within Indistar. This documentation should be reviewed during the second and third LEA and SEA quarterly monitoring.

Leading and Lagging Indicators Report

The Leading and Lagging Indicators Report will be open in Indistar beginning May 1, 2015 to complete the metrics for this year’s data. The report is to be submitted no later than September 30, 2015. This will allow adequate time to finalize the 2015-16 ILT plan necessary for the completion of Metric #5-Number of Minutes and Types of Increased Learning Time.

The September 30th submission requirements are as follows:

Cohort 3

Metric 5—Preliminary Data, Year 1 Data, Year 2 Data, Year 3 Data (Projected)

Metrics 13, 17, 18—Preliminary Data, Year 1 Data, Year 2 Data

Cohort 4

Metric 5—Preliminary Data, Year 1 Data, Year 2 Data (Projected)

Metrics 13, 17, 18—Preliminary Data, Year 1 Data

Sustainability Training

Research indicates that approximately two-thirds of schools that begin reform initiatives do not sustain their reform efforts after the funding is eliminated. In order to support our SIG schools and districts, we have secured the services of Dr. Sheryl Turner (RMC) to provide sustainability training. This training will provide an in-depth understanding of sustainability, the characteristics of districts and schools that have been successful in sustaining programs/reform initiatives, and strategies for sustaining efforts. Participants will leave with practical tools to develop a comprehensive sustainability plan which includes the work of both the district and school.

The Sustainability training will consist of two 1½-day Institutes. A description of the Institutes is provided below:

Institute I

· Module 1: What is Sustainability?

This module introduces the participants to sustainability and research on characteristics of programs/reform initiatives that have been successfully sustained.

· Module 2: Are We Ready to Sustain?

Common barriers to sustainability, such as funding and leadership, are explored, as well as specific strategies participants can incorporate to overcome those barriers. Participants delve into ten critical elements that should be examined to continue to improve outcomes and sustain effective programs/initiatives.

Institute II

· Module 3: Preparing to Sustain

In this module, participants prepare for developing a sustainability plan by exploring systems level changes including the role of district, school, and classroom personnel. Other areas of preparation include strengthening communication with stakeholders, determining areas of control and influence, and examining effective policies and procedures that support continued success.

· Module 4: Developing Your Sustainability Plan

This module guides the participants through the development of a comprehensive sustainability plan. Participants complete self-assessments to determine priority areas for sustainability of the program/reform initiatives and develop goals, objectives, strategies, and action steps for a successful sustainability plan.

Given the nature of the training, we are planning for the training to be provided to each of the SIG Cohorts individually. Institute I will be provided to each Cohort the summer following Year 2 of the implementation of the grant, and Institute II will be provided during the winter of Year 3 of the grant. Participants will be designated LEA and school leaders *. The training schedule for Cohort 3 and the tentative schedule for Cohort 4 are listed below:

Cohort 3 Sustainability Training Schedule:

· Institute I (1½ days) June 11-12, 2015

· Institute II (1½ days) February 4-5, 2016

Cohort 4 Sustainability Training Schedule:

· Institute I (1½ days) June/July, 2016

· Institute II (1½ days) January/February, 2017

Detailed communication regarding the Cohort 3 Sustainability training will be sent to the Cohort 3 superintendents and SIG Coordinators by March 31st.

*Required Cohort 3 District and School Participants:

District (4)

· Superintendent (or designee)

· District SIG Coordinator

· Chief Academic Officer/Director of C&I

· School Improvement or Title I Director

School (4)

· Principal

· 3 Key Leadership Team Members (to include school-based SIG coordinator)

GaDOE Sustainability Facilitator Training

In order to provide support to the SIG LEAs/schools as they work through the process of developing their sustainability plan, selected School and District Effectiveness staff will receive facilitator training prior to the summer Institute. This training is scheduled for April 14th – 15th, 2015. Participants will include the Turnaround and Leadership School Effectiveness Specialists, Lead School Effectiveness Specialists, and District Effectiveness Specialists.

Critical Dates for 1003(g) SIG Schools

Ø April 14th-15th—GaDOE Sustainability Facilitator Training (designated GaDOE staff only)

Ø April 20th—Monthly drawdown by LEA’s due for all SIG expenses (including salaries & benefits) encumbered to date

Ø April 30th—Q4 LEA Monitoring Report submission due in Indistar

Ø April 30th—70% of FY15 Budget expended

Ø May 1st—Leading and Lagging Indicators Report (Indistar) open for additions/edits

Ø May 20th—70% of FY15 Budget drawn down

Ø June 1st—Submission of plan for expenditure for remaining FY15 funds for schools with a total drawdown less than 70% by May 20, 2015

Ø June 11th-12th—Cohort 3 Sustainability Training—Institute I

Ø August 14th—Deadline for final FY15 SIG Program/Budget Amendments

Indistar (Celeta Thomas)

“Hitting the End of the Year Targets for Indistar”

Communication is the cornerstone for support, execution of a task and serves as guidepost for success. As we wrap up the end of the year for Indistar, please be reminded to communicate with your schools the expectations.

A Tip for Coaching Forward – One of the main ingredients to coaching is communicating the expectations following up and providing Feedback.

Norming the process:

· Explain the goals, targets, objectives for change

· Explain why the change is necessary

· Discuss what the change may look like ( provide models)

· Speak to the benefits and not barriers

· Establish your drivers, roles and responsibilities

· Discuss timelines

· Develop and monitor a plan of execution and follow up

Informing the Expectations

What (task) – Communicate end of the year wrap up expectations to schools: submission dates, wrap up procedures, exporting files, creating data warehouse options (drop box, cloud, jump drive).

Who (drivers) - SES, RESA, Process Managers, LT, Indistar Teams, State Admin.

How(execution of tasks) – Provide information via coaching comments, leadership team meetings, regional meetings, webinars, emails, Indistar bulletins.

When(timeline)- April, May, June (0ngoing)

* Follow Up Due Dates- (May 11-15)

Why (readiness) - Preparation for next year’s transition to School Standards.

Schools Should

Save current reports, upload files in the School’s filing cabinet to a jump drive or drop box.

• Make sure all required reports are submitted on or before the due date.

Save and convert reports into a word document Comprehensive Report, Task Report, Summary Report (Required Reports).

• Complete short term goals or quick win tasks before June 30 th (LT meeting agendas etc.).

Sample Task and Timeline for SES and RESAS

• March 25th- Inform schools of the expectations via coaching comments or at the Leadership Team meeting (ongoing).

• April 1st- Set expectations for schools to start saving their work to a jump drive or cloud.

• April 8th- Assist schools with completing required reports and / or tasks.

• April 30th - Attend Webinar to adhere to any updates and or changes.

• May 11th -15th - Follow up with schools in reference to the expectations.

• June 15th - All schools should have met expectations for End of the Year Indistar Wrap UP.

“Change requires courage, a certain degree of risk, some discomfort, and of the lot of hard work, but today, an ongoing change of plan should be the norm rather than the exception” (Mark Mullins).

from the Literature

Sam Taylor shared the book The Collaboration Imperative with me. Fascinating ideas. Below is a blurb that captures the main idea of the book. As you read it, consider the organization alignment we are moving to this summer. It is from a business perspective, but applies to our work and organization.

Conventional wisdom holds that a willingness to work together toward a common goal can make collaboration work. In most cases, this is not enough. Collaboration is not easy. Collaborative teams are increasingly virtual, dispersed or cross-functional, and composed of members who may never have met each other before. Perhaps they come from different social or cultural backgrounds. They might come from dysfunctional organizations (and you certainly don’t want them to bring their bad habits with them), or for a variety of reasons they may not be fully committed to the team’s work or feel accountable for its success.

Not surprisingly, it’s even harder to build good chemistry in this new world of virtual teaming. Given these challenges, collaboration should not be delivered piecemeal or just be a poster on a wall; it cannot be introduced with fanfare only to be relegated to the dustbin of good ideas because of a lack of sustained commitment. There are things that you can do to improve collaboration immediately, and there are more transformative steps you can take to build a more collaborative organization in the future.

To evolve more collaborative organizational capabilities, you will have to cultivate and coordinate three components of collaboration: culture, process and technology.


An organization’s culture refers to the people within it and the norms by which they operate. It’s about how they treat each other and how they interact and communicate. Companies that collaborate well share cultural similarities. Employees trust each other and share information readily to best serve the needs of the overall business. They communicate often and openly. They know how to tap specialized knowledge in other parts of the organization. And they are eager to partner with each other and with others outside of the company.

Collaboration can’t simply be deployed; it needs to be embraced. And for that, you need your people on board and committed. We can’t state explicitly enough that this includes your leaders. Executive buy-in and participation is imperative. Executives must be willing participants—modeling collaborative behavior and embracing the technology tools—not just taskmasters.

As a culture of collaboration takes hold, it mitigates a common operational barrier for many companies—internal competition between departmental, functional or geographical teams for human and financial resources. When internal competition escalates, so do passive-aggressive behaviors as teams fight for the same limited share of resources and credit. It promotes knowledge hoarding and needless redundancy that drains corporate resources, distracts workers and keeps companies from moving quickly.

Collaboration does just the opposite. It exposes the overlaps in your organization and moves your company from a culture of internal competition to a culture of shared goals. This becomes the platform for achieving business results faster.


Processes reflect the way we get work done. When it comes to collaboration, the most important processes are those that involve interactions between people. Think of collaborative processes as the institutional support structures necessary for helping people implement the strategy.

There is no cookie-cutter approach to developing collaborative processes. All organizations—even ones in the same industry—are unique. Each one needs to assess its distinct business processes to determine where increased collaboration can drive improvement.


In the networked world, collaboration technologies connect distributed, global teams. A decade ago, the first wave of Internet-enabled tools focused on personal productivity and technology convergence that formed a base for the pervasive, networked collaboration that’s taking place today. Now we see an emphasis on process productivity and wider engagement across departments and business functions, as mobile, social, virtual and video technologies help teams collaborate to adapt more quickly to market transitions.

The pace of innovation for collaboration technologies is remarkable and will only result in better tools for workers as time goes on. When considering these technologies, it’s important to lead with business objectives and focus on the mix of collaboration tools that best helps your organization meet those goals. It’s equally important to resist the temptation to acquire the latest technology before you define a collaboration strategy.

Upcoming Meetings & Events

Instructional Technology Webinar

Friday, April 3rd, 9-10am

This is an online event.

SIG Sustainability Training for GaDOE Staff

Tuesday, April 14th, 9am to Wednesday, April 15th, 4pm

200 Coliseum Drive

Macon, GA

Region Team Meetings

Friday, April 17th, 12am


Times and locations to be determined by the Leads

PL Webinar for RESA and GaDOE

Friday, April 17th, 10-11am

This is an online event.


Wednesday, April 29th, 9:30am-4:30pm

205 Jesse Hill Junior Drive Southeast

Atlanta, GA

Atlanta Team Meetings

Thursday, April 30th, 9am-4pm

205 Jesse Hill Junior Drive Southeast

Atlanta, GA

PL, TAS, DE, and Leads' Meetings

Job-Alike Meetings

Thursday, April 30th, 12am


If job-alikes are to take place this month, they will be held on the 30th. The time and location will be determined by the job-alike groups.

Your School & District Effectiveness Leadership Team


Paula Cleckler

Melba Fugitt

Steve Olive (Interim)

Joel Standifer

Lyn Wenzel

Patty Rooks

RESA Director Representative:

Carolyn Williams/Rachel Spates/Peggy Stovall

Program Managers:

Joann Hooper

Paulette Richmond

Sam Taylor


Will Rumbaugh