In The Know

GSC Education Newsletter, March, 2016. Stan Hobbs, Editor

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Headline: "Education Groups Urge 'Whole-Child' Approach"

by Stan Hobbs

What's this?! That headline immediately grabbed my attention.

Having read, I must share because the content is both a validation and a challenge for SDA Educators!

In an article published in Education Week, February 2016 Denisa R. Superville wrote the following: "Two K-12 initiatives that are launching this week aim to capitalize on the mounting support for taking a more holistic approach..." Holistic. Hold on here! Isn't that an Adventist education word? Can other people really use that word?

And hasn't this supposedly new "whole child" approach been the preferred approach of SDA Education since the 1890s? Of course it has! Ellen White's Education was published in 1903 and in many ways the heart of that book is the "whole child" approach. More recently, this reminds me of the now well publicized Christian Science Monitor headline from just a few years back: "For Real Education Reform Look to the Adventists."

As I continued to read it became clear that the initiatives being launched are based on an approach and principles that SDA educators have promoted for many years. For example, Superville states that the "Every Student Succeeds Act requires states and districts to judge school success on a broader set of metrics than test scores." Reading further, we find the following quote: "We need to see a comprehensive education agenda that really starts at birth, when kids start to learn and goes all the way through; that takes into account the entire day and marries the best evidence of what works for all kids..."

I have to admit something at this point. I've left out one key element from the article about the motivation behind these new initiatives. Namely, they are a response to frustrations of public education over the ability of traditional "schooling" to educate "all students," particularly poor children: "A basic underlying belief of this initiative is that schools alone, as currently conceived, are insufficient to do the job of educating all students for success."

And in that statement we find yet another hallmark of SDA education. Think about that phrase "schools alone." Really focus on that phrase. Isn't this a theme of Education? Haven't we known all along that "schools alone" are insufficient to truly holistically educate students for success. Truly, "all students" (rich, poor and those in between) benefit from the holistic approach of SDA education when we do it right -- combining home, school and church into a beautiful partnership which brings a level of success that these new public school initiatives are seeking to find. The key is to do it well and to make sure the partnership is a vibrant one.


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Summer Course Information -- Updated and Simplified for 2016

The process has been simplified so that each teacher goes to one website to start the registration process.

Go To

STEP 1. Complete the Application Form

The sign-up process begins by completing the on-line application form. You will receive a confirmation email that we have received your application within 1-2 business days.


Check the complete list of courses offered by semester to plan your course load in advance. Teacher Certification Courses are offered on a non-degree basis. If you have questions regarding which courses you need for certification, please verify with Kelsey Abbott and/or the union registrar, Luberta Biggs. You may review the Adventist K-12 Educator’s Certification Manual.


The application will ask you to indicate your employing Conference and Union for billing purposes. You will sign a payment contract and identity statement and will be responsible for on-line fees if not covered by your Conference or Union.

STEP 2. Set Up a Southern Student SDA

To access online classes and grade information, all students must have a Southern email account. If you have an email and remember your user name and password, continue to STEP 3.

If you do not remember your username and password for an existing account, contact Information Services at 423-236-2707.

If you have never taken classes at Southern before, you MUST set up a Southern email account using the student identification number sent to you in the approval notification.

To Create a Student Account

1. On the Southern website, click My Access.

2. Click Create Account.

3. Type your ID number, and then click Next.

Provide all requested information to finish setting up your account.

STEP 3. Register for Classes – Registration is open April 15, 2016

1. Review the complete list of On-line Certification Courses offered by semester to plan your course load.

2. Go to register for courses and sign-in with your username and password.

3. Add the course(s) to the cart.

4. Follow the directions for completing the final registration step.


If you have questions regarding which courses you need for certification, please verify with your conference superintendent and/or union registrar. You may review the North American Division Certification Manual here.

STEP 4. Log in and Begin the Course


NOTE: If you are interested in obtaining a graduate degree through Southern Adventist University, you must apply to the University and obtain either regular or provisional acceptance into one of the degree programs. Check the Graduate Studies Website for all available degrees at


4-Mat Course Options This Summer

Hello Everyone,

Dr. W. Eugene Brewer will be teaching Trends & Issues in Education (4MAT) at the following locations in the summer 2016:

1. South Central Conference via Oakwood University, June 6-17, 2016

2. Southern Adventist University, July 5–15, 2016

3. Southeastern Conference via Oakwood University, July 18-29, 2016


Luberta Biggs, BA, MAOM

Certification Registrar

Southern Union Conference of SDA

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 923868, Norcross, GA 30010-3868

Physical Address: 302 Research Drive, Norcross, GA 30092-2934

Main: (770) 408-1800, ext 160

Office: (770) 408-2160

Fax: (770) 408-1801



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7 Bridges to Interactive Engagement with Nearpod

Presented by Pegi Flynt, Adventist Learning Community, Director of Education

Join us for a Webinar on March 31.
Nearpod is an innovative presentation and assessment platform that allows teachers to create interactive multimedia presentations where students can engage with the content on their own devices or a computer lab setting either in the classroom or at home. Quiz's, Polls, Videos, Images, Drawing-Boards, Web content and Virtual Field Trips can be added to help improve learner outcomes. The customizable nature of the app means that it works well for any age range, subject matter, or learning context.

Whether you are new to Nearpod or a current user, you can benefit from the North American Division Nearpod district license which includes full multimedia capabilities, 20 GB of storage per teacher, a private library of Nearpod lessons collectively created and curated by your fellow colleagues, and many other benefits. Come and participate in this exciting Webinar where you will learn how to take advantage of this cutting-edge platform.

DATE: Thursday, March 31, 2016
TIME: 6 - 7 PM CDT

Reserve your Webinar seat now »

Unfamiliar with Nearpod?
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Women's History in the Spotlight with Britannica

Presented by Darcy Carlson, Britannica Digital Learning, PD Manage

Join us for a Webinar to celebrate Women's History this March. In this one-hour webinar, discover Britannica resources to support your classroom lessons and find new activities to help your students understand the impact of women in our history.

One webinar with three options of times:

Monday, February 29th at 4 PM CST
Tuesday, March 1st at 5 PM CST
Wednesday, March 2nd at 6 PM CST


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One of the best resources available to SDA teachers is found at

The REACH (Reaching to Educate All Children for Heaven) initiative provides teachers with resources, training, and ongoing support.

If you haven't been to the website recently, give it a look.

Especially note the IN THE CLASSROOM tab on the home page. Then click ELEMENTARY. Each topical tab is a link to many resources and strategies.

As you explore other areas you'll find professional growth webinars, links to professional organizations, etc.
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The following form was approved by the Board of Education for use when including Home Schoolers in your local activities. We have uploaded this form to the GSC website: All forms are under the education tab.

Home School Student

Accident Insurance Form

The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist schools in the Gulf States Conference is to provide quality education in a spiritual setting for the students enrolled. It is also a goal to be of service to the communities in the area of our schools. One of the ways the schools may provide service is to permit home school students to participate in certain activities, programs, or classes at the school.

This form is to be used to register the home school student for insurance coverage when involved with school activities. One form must be completed for each home school student.

The student accident insurance is primary for the first $500.00 and then secondary up to $25,000 and has a catastrophic accident medical benefit of up to $1,000,000.

Coverage begins: _____________________ Coverage ends: __________________

School Name

Parents agree to the following stipulations:

1. Parents will pay a fee to the school to purchase student accident insurance:

PreK-K - $16.00

Gr. 1-8 (and gr. 9-10 at an elementary campus) - $27.50

Gr. 9-12 day academy - $71.00

Gr. 9-12 boarding academy - $233.75

2. Parent’s supervision of their child may be requested by the school to assist in supervision during the activities, programs, or classes.

3. Parents may be required to accompany their child on any off-campus trips.

4. The school assumes no responsibility for the home school child outside of the scope of the activities, programs, or classes in which the child is registered to participate.

Student Name Birth date

I have read and agree to the stipulations above. I recognize that the student accident insurance only covers my child during school-sponsored activities.

Parent Signature Date


Social Studies Curriculum Roll-Out: 2017-2019

The Brainshark/video links should also be viewed by all K-8 principals and teachers before the webinars begin.


The goal of the webinar sessions are to provide teachers and administrators with a thorough introduction to the McGraw-Hill Networks, Social Studies K-8 platform. These sessions translate research into practice and will be customized to include the following topics:

· K – 4 Overview: components, teacher materials walk through, student materials walk through and digital resources

· 5 - 8 Overview: components, teacher materials walk through, student materials walk through and digital resources

· How to place an order; reviewing an order form and various scenarios specific to SDA small classrooms.


It would be very helpful if teachers and administrators could view the brainsharks listed below prior to attending a webinar or placing an order.

· K – 4 Overview: components, teacher materials walk through, student materials walk through and digital resources

· 5 - 8 Overview: components, teacher materials walk through, student materials walk through and digital resources

· How to place an order; going over order form and various scenarios specific to SDA blended classrooms.

SDA How to Order MHE Networks Brainshark:

SDA Networks K-4 Overview

SDA Networks 5-8 Overview

SDA Networks 5-8 LearnSmart


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Adventist Risk Management has provided these special resources to prepare for a variety of emergency events that might impact the safety of church members and students. Just click this button to visit the website.


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Don't forget about the resources available at Teaching A-Z. NAD Discount information has been provided in previous issues of this year's In The Know.

Giving teachers the tools they need to be successful isn't always as easy as it sounds. Each classroom has specific needs, and so do the students and teachers inside them.

Learning A-Z is a leading curriculum resource company dedicated to providing effective, affordable education solutions. With an enlightened approach to literacy that goes beyond reading and writing to develop the 21st century skills students need to thrive, we offer a suite of products that make personalized instruction and learning easier.
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Go Math Contact Info Has Changed

Shared by Beverly Trent, Hoover Christian School who writes...

There is a new SDA contact person for ordering Go Math materials. Betsy Hartman is our new contact person. She can be reached by email at You will find her phone contact information below.

This is the person to go through for access to replenishment materials and to make sure your order gives you access to all the online resources, including Think Central. The customer service reps do not have the knowledge specific to the agreement the NAD made with HMH. If you order through a general customer service rep, you will not be given all the resources and discounts to which you are entitled.

I hope this helps as you order and plan for next year!

Please send all of your questions, concerns and ordering forms to This link will come to me and I will respond as soon as possible. Look forward to working with you.
Have a great day!

Please let us know if we can be of further assistance. You may either reply to this email or contact Customer Service directly at 800.225.5425. Please use our Customer Care Site at to track an order, request a packing list, invoice or statement or file a claim.

We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you in the future.


Certified Teacher on the Increase in Gulf States....

88% of the Gulf States Conference teachers have a current certification as reported at the February session of the Southern Union Department of Education meetings in Norcross, GA.

That's the second highest rate of the eight conferences in the Southern Union up from 82% the year before.

See the information in the newsletter above about how to take care of your certification needs from home this summer using Southern's online course options.


Plan to Attend Outdoor School

Special Event for our 5th and 6th graders at Camp Alamisco, April 11-14.

Contact Kelsey Abbott for Registration Materials:
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2016-2017 School Calendar Deadline

Each individual local board approved school calendar is due back to me by April 25, 2015. Thanks for your attention to this important detail.
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First Aid and CPR Training

The American Red Cross conducts training. Perhaps local pastors and teachers could work together to arrange a session that involves both employees and key volunteers. Their website states: "We'll come to you -- whenever and wherever you want (24/7)."


They also provide advanced bloodborne pathogen training if you are interested in that.
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Save The Date: Teacher Convention 2016!

Elementary and Middle School Teacher Convention will be at the GSC Office and Camp Alamisco -- September 28 to October 2, 2016

We are trying something new to lesson the impact of the convention on school preparation the week before school begins. The hope is this will have the added benefit of a "break" for both you and the students between the start of school and Thanksgiving vacation.

A few early details:
1. Wednesday -- be at the Montgomery Conference office by 3:00 for a workshop on the new Social Studies curriculum rolling out 2017-2019. This will be followed by a group dinner provided by the conference. Wednesday night accommodations will be at local motels. Kelsey will give you more info on that later.
2. Thursday meetings will be at the Conference Office and we'll transition to the camp that afternoon.
3. Friday, Sabbath and Sunday meetings and recreation time will be at the Camp. Sunday morning's session will end no later than 10:00 a.m.

Bass Memorial Academy staff will have their own separate pre-session in 2016 as planned by the academy administration.


2016-2017 Accreditation Full Evaluations

Full Visits Using the New Online Forms are to be scheduled in February and March 2017 for:
1. Hoover Christian School
2. Mobile Junior Academy
3. Big Cove Christian Academy

Interim Visits are to be scheduled in February and March 2017 for:
1. Emerald Coast Christian School

I will be sending more information out about this soon and can provide an orientation to your boards regarding the process. It would be best to schedule that this spring or summer as the process is a 9-12 month project.


Congratulations To...

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Morgan Blancett pictured with her teacher Wanda Beck. Morgan, a student at Floral Crest School, qualified to compete in the state competition of the National Geography Bee on April 1st at Samford University in Birmingham. Great Job Morgan!


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GSC Educator Birthdays: April

Happy April Birthday to...
David Haley (Hoover Christian School), April 2
Jennifer Gennick (Mobile Junior Academy), April 14