The Bulletin

Division of School & District Effectiveness

May 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 processes

Previous Editions of The Bulletin

This Month

As you are aware, we are in the midst of moving toward the alignment we have been discussing for a few months. It's an exciting time, and it's a time for us to be agile and to think as state leaders.

We are being called upon to help more and more schools and districts, and to add value to all the schools and districts in the state. That's the biggest reason for the move to more stable, identified, collaborative Regions. As we all work toward and within the new alignment, we need to loosen our grip on what has always been done in the past and embrace creative thinking and problem solving as we approach the diverse needs in so many schools and districts (i.e., agility).

We also need to take a step (or two) back and look at the landscape from a state perspective. We ARE state leaders, so we need to consider our work, ALL of our work, from that bigger view. Let's pepper our conversations and practices as we move toward a different alignment with these two thoughts in mind: being agile in approaching school and district issues and how we strive to meet many varied needs; and thinking of the individual work with schools or districts in the context of regions, areas, and the state.


from Professional Learning (Joann Hooper)

Professional Learning: New Strategies

In this article, professional development strategies are discussed. Effective professional development should reflect the best of what we know from data-driven improvement efforts. The process should begin by referencing the mission, values and goals of the organization, as well as identifying gaps between current reality and the desired future (DuFour, 1991). Evidence such as student achievement data, school climate surveys and feedback from students and the community should be used to indicate focus areas.

Once these focus areas have been established, the following principles should guide the professional development planning process: grouping messages into content chunks, peer teaching, use of technology, and use of humor and follow-up.

Article Link:

March SDE PL:

Thank you for your participation in our March SDE PL. It was a great success! We were able to provide updates and continue our school improvement work.

Indistar Updates:

SIG schools will continue to use Indistar as it is currently configured. The changes will be for Non-SIG Priority and Focus Schools. First, Indistar as we know it will go down on June 30, 2015. Therefore, any reports or information that need to be submitted for the 2014-2015 school year should be completed and submitted by June 29, 2015. For the school year 2015-2016, the indicators for all schools and districts will be the Georgia School Performance Standards and the Georgia District Performance Standards. There will be a smaller number of key (non-negotiable) indicators and schools will narrow their focus and work on fewer indicators at a time. Completing tasks, monitoring, and reporting will still be required. The change in our monitoring process will bring better alignment between the work in schools and how it is being monitored.

To give you a deeper understanding of the changes for monitoring, we will hold a webinar on April 30, 2015, at 10:00. At this time we will give more details about the changes coming to Indistar. To register for the webinar, please see below.

Webinar Registration:

Please register for What's Changing with Indistar for Principals and Process Managers on Apr 30, 2015 10:00 AM EDT at:

This webinar will give principals and process managers information on the changes for Indistar for the 2015-2016 school year.

Purpose of Key Standards:

The key or non-negotiable standards should be the high-leverage standards that will support schools in becoming operational and maintaining this position. The monitoring of these standards should allow schools to more easily determine their progress or lack of progress. School effectiveness specialists should be able to chart development and give explicit coaching comments and feedback on the tasks assigned to these standards.

Key School Performance Standards

Curriculum 1: Uses systematic, collaborative planning processes so that teachers can have a shared understanding of expectations for standards, curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

Curriculum 3: Uses a process to review curriculum documents to ensure alignment to the intent and rigor of the standards and revises as needed

Assessment 2: Uses a balanced system of assessments including diagnostic, formative, and summative to monitor learning and inform instruction

Assessment 3: Uses common assessments aligned with the required standards to monitor student progress, inform instruction, and improve teacher practices

Instruction 4: Uses research-based instructional practices that positively impact student learning

Instruction 8: Establishes a learning environment that empowers students to actively monitor their own progress

Instruction 9: Provides timely, systematic, data-driven interventions

Professional Learning 6: Monitors and evaluates the impact of professional learning on staff practices and student learning

Leadership 6: Establishes and supports a data-driven school leadership team that is focused on student learning

Planning and Organization 1: Shares a common vision/mission that defines school culture and guides the continuous improvement process.

Planning and Organization 2: Uses a data-driven and consensus-oriented process to develop and implement a school improvement plan that is focused on student performance

Planning and Organization 3: Monitors implementation of the school improvement plan and makes adjustments, as needed

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: Question Cards

Description: Have participants play Question Cards and develop questions around a topic or lesson.


Pass out index cards to groups with “What? Who? When? Where? and How? ” written on the cards. Participants “play” their cards by creating questions about the topic. For example, if the focus is on digital storytelling resources, someone might inquire, “What apps would you recommend?”

Another person's query might be, “How would you use that app?” During the activity, participants share and answer the questions they have created during the opener. Question cards facilitate questioning by every participant, not just a select few. Plus, it’s much more engaging to seek answers to questions participants have developed themselves rather than those from somewhere else.

You can have each participant come up with one question of their choice or questions for each W and the H.

Intended Audience: Students or Adults


The Precious First Few Minutes Of Class | TeachThought

from Technical Assistance & Support (Paulette Richmond)

Save the date

May 1, 2015 (9am)

IT updates webinar

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

Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds are awarded to Title I schools identified as Priority, Focus and Alert to support implementation of school improvement activities outlined in the School Improvement Plan. The ultimate purpose is to improve student achievement. In the schools we support, we see examples of how students have benefitted and can further benefit from the use of School Improvement 1003(a) funds. Thank you for the ongoing support you provide to schools and districts related to 1003(a) funding. Below please note the change in funds spent from last year to this year.

April 2014, LEAs spent 28.87% of Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds

April 2015, LEAs spent 41.51% of Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds

It’s May 2015, consider asking school leaders the following:

Are you on track to spend all Title I, Part A, 1003(a) School Improvement funds by September 30, 2015?

As of May 2015, what are your plans to spend 100% of your funds on or before September 30, 2015?

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

Sumter May 5

Fulton May 12

Pelham City May 14

Dooly May 27

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 (Lyn Wenzel)

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

Region teams have been engaging schools, leaders, teachers, and teams to build capacity in the following ways:

· Math and literacy networks and follow up

· Data review to inform school improvement plan revision

· Completion and review of tasks

· Archiving reports

· Planning for summer activities

· Modeling coaching protocols and feedback

· Defining rigor and developing monitoring protocols

· Developing processes for school improvement

· Updating progress from diagnostic assessments, GAPSS recommendations, quarterly monitoring results, etc.

· Evaluating effectiveness of leadership teams and encouraging participation of teachers and staff.

Metro 2 Team is engaged in a book study of The Multiplier Effect by Wiseman, Allen, and Foster. In supporting leaders to own their improvement process, this work describes leaders as “talent finders” and identifies the mindset necessary to find the genius in everyone. What an important concept for teamwork!

The team will build capacity within SDE by delivering professional learning outlining practices from the book in encouraging “multipliers” as opposed to “diminishers” in thoughts, words, and actions.

from District Effectiveness (Sam Taylor)

  • Dr. Sam Taylor, along with Iris Moran and Terri Gaspierik, presented the Summary Report from the inaugural District Assessment of Performance Standards, to the Murray County Superintendent, her staff, and to the local Board of Education on Monday, April 20, 2015.

  • The DE Team is currently conducting its second District Assessment with APS. Thanks to members of Metro Team 1 and Will who have assisted or will be assisting the DE Team with focus groups, document reviews, classroom observations and interviews. The review team met with Superintendent Carstarphen prior to the review. As with Superintendent Reed in Murray County, Dr. Carstarphen and her executive staff requested the review from GaDOE.

  • DE Team members are working with their Cohort IV SIG core team to shore up weak indicators and prepare for year two of their SIG.

  • DE Team members, along with a few SES, are working to build local capacity in educational groups and districts with CCRPI (Title I, Potential Opportunity Schools, SI, RESA, and other GaDOE departments). A small group is also working to get CCRPI modules developed with the help of GPB for future use as PL opportunities.

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 that have not met the 70% threshold on May 20th. Please note, the district must obtain signatures from the Superintendent (not a designee), Principal and SIG Coordinator/Administrator attesting to the plan and expenditure of the remaining SIG funds.

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

FY16 SIG 1003(g) budget

To help the SIG 1003(g) schools prepare for a successful 2016 school-year, a budget template and instructions will be emailed to the SIG Coordinators on June 1st. The budget template is comprised of two sections, a proposed budget section and an amended budget section. The proposed budget that was submitted in the application for the grant will be inserted in the blue highlighted section of the template. Any changes made to the original budget will be placed in the template’s orange highlighted section, along with the amended language and rationale. The budget template must be submitted to Lyndsay Moses and copied to Dr. Patty Rooks and the Lead School Effectiveness Specialist, by June 30th.

Please note, if there are no changes to the original budget submitted in the grant application, then the FY16 budget may be directly loaded to the Consolidated Application starting July 1st. The Division would like to have all FY16 budgets loaded and approved in the Consolidated Application by July 31st.

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 was 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 a reminder, 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.

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

Communication regarding the Cohort 3 Sustainability training was sent to the Cohort 3 Superintendents and SIG Coordinators on March 31st. As indicated in the communication, registration and lodging information was forwarded to the Cohort 3 SIG Coordinators on April 30th. The SIG Coordinators are responsible for registering the district and school participants (see required participants below). The deadline for registration and lodging reservations is Sunday, May 24th.

Lead, District, Turnaround and Leadership Effectiveness Specialists assigned to the Cohort 3 districts/schools will be in attendance at the training to support the districts and schools as they work through the process of developing their sustainability plans. Registration and lodging information will be sent separately to the GaDOE attendees.

Cohort 3 Sustainability Training Schedule:

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

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

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)

Critical Dates for 1003(g) SIG Schools

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

Ø April 30th—70% of FY15 Budget expended

Ø April 30th—Sustainability Institute I registration & lodging information sent to Cohort 3 SIG Coordinators

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

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

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

Ø May 24th—Deadline for Cohort 3 Sustainability Institute I registration & lodging reservations

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

from the Literature

From the Center for Public Education (I LOVE the 3rd bullet!):

High-performing, high-poverty schools: At a glance

Traditionally, schools with high poverty rates have struggled to educate students successfully. More than 20 years ago, educators began exploring how schools with high numbers of poor students could be as successful in student performance as schools in more advantaged communities. Since then, research has indicated that certain characteristics are associated with increased student achievement and performance in schools traditionally viewed as low performing with a large number of students living in poverty. The following characteristics have been found in successful high poverty schools:

  • Schools and staff support the belief that all students can and will learn. High poverty schools with faculties that believe in their students, set high goals for their students, and have professional development activities that promote supportive and nurturing classroom environments have students with higher student achievement scores (Kannapel & Clements, 2005; Carter, 2000.
  • Ongoing assessment in the school and classrooms allows teachers to individualize instruction for students. Assessing students, determining the areas in which they need help, and planning or changing the instruction to meet these needs promotes higher levels of student achievement (Kannapel & Clements, 2005; Corallo & McDonald, 2001; Carter, 2000; Barth, et al, 1999).
  • Aligning curriculum with instruction and assessment provides teachers with a successful system. Making sure that instruction follows established standards or curriculum ensures that students are taught the material they will need to be successful at their grade level (Kannapel & Clements, 2005; Corallo & McDonald, 2001; Barth, et al, 1999).
  • School leadership promotes a collaborative model with teachers involved in decision making. Though leadership styles may differ, administrators include staff in making key decisions regarding school matters as well as curriculum and instruction (Kannapel & Clements, 2005).
  • Teachers collaborate across grade levels and curriculum areas to ensure that teachers and students receive the support they need. Successful schools have collaborative staffs that are invested in the success of each student. Classroom teachers and specialists (e.g., reading teachers, special education teachers, counselors) work together to share responsibility for all students (CCSSO, 2002).
  • Classrooms with highly qualified teachers enable students to succeed. Teacher quality, which includes experience, advanced degrees and training, professional development opportunities, and effective instructional skills, is directly related to student achievement (Ascher & Fruchter, 2001; Carter, 2000.
  • Family involvement in a child’s education positively affects student achievement. Schools that work together with families and encourage participation in the school and at home enable students to learn and meet grade level expectations (Carter, 2000; Barth, et al, 1999).

Schools do not achieve high performance by doing one or two things differently. They must do a number of things differently, and all at the same time, to begin to achieve the critical mass that will make a difference in student outcomes—in other words, high-poverty schools that achieve gains in student performance engage in systemic change.

When we look across the studies [of high-performing schools with high poverty], ten factors are consistently identified. We separate them into five building blocks and five practices:

Building blocks

  • A culture of high expectations and caring for students
  • A safe and disciplined environment
  • A principal who is a strong instructional leader
  • Hard-working, committed, and able teachers
  • A curriculum focused on academic achievement that emphasizes basic skills in mathematics and literacy


  • Increased instructional time
  • Ongoing, diagnostic assessment
  • Parents as partners in learning
  • Professional development to improve student achievement
  • Collaboration among teachers and staff

Upcoming Meetings & Events

Instructional Technology Webinar

Friday, May 1st, 9-10am

This is an online event.

RESA Summit

Monday, May 11th, 9am to Wednesday, May 13th, 4pm

5445 Frederica Road

Saint Simons Island, GA

Ga DOE Region Team Meetings

Friday, May 15th, 12am


Times and locations of Region Team Meetings to be determined by Leads

PL Webinar for RESA and GaDOE SES Teams

Friday, May 15th, 10-11am

This is an online event.

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