Coastal Plains RESA

February 2023

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A Note From Our Director

As February unfolds your CPRESA Staff continues to stay busy serving our member schools and districts. We continue to strive to provide quality professional learning opportunities and serve as a liaison for you and the GADOE.

Please let us know how we can better serve you.

Wes Taylor

Executive Director

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Professional Learning through GaDOE

Our goal at Coastal Plains RESA is to meet the professional learning needs of our districts. Another source for professional learning is GaDOE Community, which may offer specific trainings we do not currently offer. On this site, you can find a catalog of professional learning opportunities. Search the site for multiday and single day events, as well as recorded webinars. Various topics can also be searched.

Regina Purvis

Professional Learning Director

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CPRESA Welcomes School Climate Specialist Scott Haskins

Coastal Plains RESA welcomes Scott Haskins as our new School Climate Specialist. Creacy Sermons will be joining the School Improvement team here at RESA.

Scott and his wife Pam live in Tifton Georgia, but he is originally from Thomasville. Together, they have five beautiful children. Scott graduated from the University of Georgia (GO DAWGS) with a Bachelor of Education. He later received a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Albany State University, and received an Educational Specialist in Educational Administration from Valdosta State University. Scott has been in education for almost 29 years. The last 17 years he has served as an administrator with three different schools within our RESA district. Scott has been an administrator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He shared " I am excited about this new chapter in my life. I look forward to continuing to work in this area and with the schools in our RESA district." Coastal Plains RESA is excited to have Scott as part of the RESA team.


Don’t Forget YGA 2023!

Deadlines for the 2023 Writing Fair are approaching quickly!

We are excited to bring this opportunity to our students again this year and we appreciate all the hard work that you do to help make that possible!

I have shared a Google folder for digital upload to each district contact. We hope you will also participate in the Poster Wall at the Mall this year and show off your students great talent to the world!

Winning entries from each system must be received at RESA no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, 2023.

Thank you so much for your support!

Jenni Anderson

ELA Specialist

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When you ask a teacher from grades K-12 to identify the main cause of a student’s academic

struggle, frequently their answer is lack of vocabulary. During the “Age of Common Core,”

Robert Marzano developed a process for building academic vocabulary. His book was

published in 2005, but in my opinion, this is still the most effective way to teach vocabulary

in any grade in any subject. For this vocabulary instructional process to be effective, all six

steps should be implemented with fidelity.

Marzano’s 6-Step Process for Building Academic Vocabulary

The six steps of the vocabulary instruction process are:

1. Provide a description, explanation, or example of the new term.

2. Ask students to restate the description, explanation, or example in their own words.

3. Ask students to construct a picture, symbol, or graphic representing the term or


4. Engage students in activities that help them add to their knowledge of the terms in

their vocabulary notebooks.

5. Periodically ask students to discuss the terms with one another.

6. Involve students in games that allow them to play with terms.

How many of the six steps do you see being used in your school?

Darlene Watson

Growing Readers Specialist

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First Annual Special Education Directors Retreat

South Georgia GLRS and South Central GLRS hosted the first annual Special Education Directors Leadership Retreat for both districts at Jekyll Island February 8-10. The directors participated in team building activities, collaboration activities, and learning sessions. Presenters during the retreat included John O'Connor, Chris Shaw, and several DOE specialists. John O’Connor spoke to the group on Tier 1 instructional strategies, along with updates on the new Dyslexia bill. Chris Shaw gave a demonstration on AI opportunities for classrooms that would benefit students with disabilities. GADOE Specialists spoke on the GAA 1% Rule, EL services for SWD’s and certification requirements for teachers of students with disabilities.

Dane Heard

GLRS Director

Amber Stevens

GLRS Coordinator

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Georgia's New Math Standards Professional Learning Opportunities

On February 2, 2023, approximately 50 middle school teachers and curriculum leaders attended the Unit 1 deep dive here at CPRESA.

Based upon feedback, teachers and teacher leaders were interested in following up with a deep dive into Unit 2 and beyond. This middle school session has been posted for registration; the date is May 8, 2023.

Preparing for Unit 1: High School Math will be offered February 28, 2023. Register here. High school teachers will look at Algebra, Geometry, or Advance Algebra collaboratively.

Elementary school teachers are invited to come together and examine Unit 1 collaboratively in May.

Grades 3-5 will be May 2, 2023.

K-2 will be May 3, 2023.

Administrators have a chance to be “in the know” when we are talking about Georgia’s K-12 new mathematics standards. CPRESA will host an information session on March 27, 2023 starting at 9:00 a.m. to conclude by 11:30 a.m. facilitated by Paulette Shoupe and Amy Casper. Register here.

Interdisciplinary Connections for GA’s math curriculum are planned June 14, 2023 here at CPRESA. Registration is now open.

K-5 morning session 9:00 – 11:30

6-12 afternoon session 12:30 – 3:00

Paulette Shoupe

Math Specialist

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School Climate

We hope that 2023 has gotten off to a great start. We’ve enjoyed visiting Coaches

Meetings, PBIS Meetings, Walk throughs, and trainings with various schools in the

district. School teams are analyzing data in their meetings, looking at acknowledgments

and successes, and making plans for future goals. We are also proud of the

acknowledgements schools are receiving for their hard work in the areas of school

behavior and school climate.

We congratulate our schools that have risen to “Operational” status and look forward to

recognizing these schools at our Georgia DOE School Climate meeting in Macon on

February 9th . District Coordinators, please remember to register for the February 9th

Georgia DOE School Climate District Coordinator’s meeting.

On Tuesday, February 28th we are offering a Youth Mental Health First Aid workshop in

Lenox. It’s a full day session which will begin at 8:30 am, and covers topics related to

helping young people in crisis. Spaces are limited to the first 30 participants to sign up.

Registration is offered on Learning Stream on the RESA website, and we hope that you

can join us. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Upcoming Dates and Meetings:

February 9th PBIS District Coordinator’s Meeting

Middle Georgia State University in Macon

February 28th Youth Mental Health First Aid Workshop

Coastal Plains RESA 8:30 am - 3:00 pm

March 8th PBIS District Coordinators/School Coaches Job Alike

Virtual Meeting 9:00 am (A link will be shared closer to the date)

March 14th School Counselors/Social Workers Job Alike

Coastal Plains RESA Lenox, GA 9:00-12:00

March 23rd Muscogee County School District PBIS Bus Tour

Columbus, Georgia 9:00 am -2:00 pm (Check in begins at 8:00 am)

Contact Michelle Pate at or Dr. Kenya Gilmore at for more information about this opportunity.

Shannon Voyles

Scott Haskins

School Climate Specialists

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Analysis of Proposed CCRPI Changes

The Accountability Team at the Department of Education in Atlanta has been working overtime to put together a proposal to send to US ED in Washington, DC to make changes to Georgia’s accountability system and the CCRPI. Below is an analysis of nine of the changes that may get approved over the next 45-60 days.

Stay tuned for what happens next. Many of these changes may provide some much needed “lift” for schools as they strive to overcome the missed learning opportunities experienced during the COVID years.

1. Align the Literacy (Lexile) indicator targets with the Milestones on-grade-level reading targets. Lowers the bar but provides needed consistency.

2. Expand the high school College and Career Readiness indicator to include military readiness as measured by performance on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) as an additional option to demonstrate postsecondary readiness. Good addition.

3. Include additional content areas (career exploratory, computer science) in the Beyond the Core indicator. Good addition -- if schools can use the correct course numbers.

4. Incorporate students with significant cognitive disabilities who participate in the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) 2.0 in the ELA and mathematics Progress indicators. Inclusion is a good thing.

5. Increase the Progress component weighting for students at the top of the performance scales (Level 4). A progressive change.

6. Update the Closing Gaps improvement target formula to align with the maintenance level (90) and to reward districts and schools that meet improvement targets for the most at-risk student populations (Economically Disadvantaged, English Learners, Students with Disabilities). Good, but the component has other issues.

7. Eliminate the overall, single 0-100 score while maintaining 0-100 scores for all indicators and components. Some states already do this, but it could be seen as a means to “cloak” poor school performance.

8. Continue utilizing the staged Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) identification approach approved in Georgia’s one-year addendum (2022), updated to include all components. The staged approach will yield results that resemble 2022. Easier and quicker ways exist to identify CSI schools.

9. Eliminate the Promise Schools designation and replace it with a Universal Supports Schools designation to enable the state to support statewide improvement efforts to provide a high-quality education for all students in Georgia’s schools. Good, now districts must understand when school performance is sinking and trending toward the CSI entrance threshold.

Bobby Smith

School Improvement Specialist

Technology Updates

Technology can help your students (and you!) improve executive functioning skills in many ways. Daniel Rivera of First District RESA recently shared his overview of websites that can improve focus. Watch the full video for several recommendations; my favorites are StudyWithMe for focus and short break timers and A Soft Murmur for background and ambient sounds.

Leanne NeSmith

Technology Specialist

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GaConnects Overview with SuitCASE and Inspire Demo

This information is from GaDOE Community. If you are not a member, please take time to join.

March 13, 2023

Duration: 1 hour

Intended Audience: Data Collections Staff, District Leaders, Elementary Teachers, ESOL Teachers, GaDOE Staff ALL, Gifted and Talented Teachers, High School Teachers, Instructional Coaches/Coordinators, Librarians/Media Specialists, Middle School Teachers, MTSS Team, Online Teachers, RESA Mentors, School Leaders, Social Workers, Special Education Teachers, State Schools, Teacher Leaders, Technology

SLDS will transition to the brand new one-stop-shop site, GaConnects, later this school year. Are you and your staff ready for the shift? In this virtual webinar, hear what GaConnects is, how to access it, and how it is organized. Also, see a demo of its two new feature applications – SuitCASE, your access to digital standards, and Inspire, your access to instructional resources. This is a great opportunity for your staff to be prepared and familiar with the new site and its feature applications early.

To report an issue with the event link, please email the event contact.

Primary Contact: John McDonald -

Secondary Contact: Tanya Ogletree -

DOE Office: Technology Services

Topics: Online Learning, SLDS, Technology

Event Type: Event - Single Day

March 13, 2023




Puppy Power in Education

Using a dog for therapy is not new, but for Brooks County Middle School, it happened purely by accident. One of the administrators had a new puppy who needed someplace to go. He was too small to leave outside, and the hours were too long to leave him in a crate all day. Mrs. Giddens, the small group instruction teacher, suggested bringing the puppy to school because her students would love it. Thus, Cash, the English Cocker Spaniel, made his appearance. No one could ever have imagined such a small puppy's impact on a class of students with special needs. Jack has assisted with less sensory overload, fewer outbursts, fewer arguments, and less frustration. Jack has also aided in delivering more writing, reading, laughter, calmness, and the list could go on and on. Jack is so much more than a therapy dog; he is an integral member of the Brooks County Middle School family! Read the full article here.

February is School-Based Health Care Awareness Month! Join the 2/10/2023 webinar hosted by the Office of Whole Child Supports on school-based health center (SBHC) sustainability. Register here:

Stephanie Butler

Wraparound Coordinator

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JL Lomax Host Parent Advisory Meeting

“This month's Parent Advisory Meeting was absolutely wonderful.” stated Regina Kimbrough, J.L. Lomax’ School Counselor and Parent Engagement Coordinator. Dr. Sheila R. Thomas of Thomas Educational Consulting and Training did a dynamic job engaging parents and grandparents alike by sharing simple strategies to help build vocabulary and reading skills for all children. Throughout the presentation she gave out some awesome prizes to everyone as they answered questions about the strategies that had been presented. She even had one of her books in Spanish for our parents who needed that version. Once Dr. Thomas wrapped her presentation, Ms. Kimbrough engaged parents in a question and answer session and reminded them of the importance of parent engagement and parent input. Parents were then able to complete the Georgia Health Survey after hearing about how to be active in their child’s education. Dr. Witherspoon, JLL Principal, gave remarks and gave each parent an article entitled, The Thirty Million Word Gap.

Linda Sermons

Ila Williams

Academic School Improvement Specialists

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Visit Our Website To Register For The Following Trainings:

District Wraparound Job-Alike

GAA Training

Excellence in Science

Youth Mental Health

Preparing for Unit One with the New Math Standards (High School)

Middle/High School Leadership Academy

Assistant Principals Leadership Academy

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