Thursday, February 1, 2001

A Letter from the Division Director

Dear Colleagues:

The value of a good education is immeasurable. As a science educator in the university system for more than 25 years, I have seen knowledge transform a student's life. Former students with limited experiences of the world now have exciting careers in science because of what they learned in their first biology class. Other students, who might otherwise have no access to a college education, now are enrolled in degree programs thanks to distance learning. They, too, are discovering a brighter future than they ever thought possible.

This state has a tremendous need for high quality curriculum support in its schools. Teachers find it difficult to juggle the demands for teaching core subjects while assuring students develop the skills they need to succeed in the high tech world.

That's why I feel so proud to be the new director of PeachStar Education Services, a Division of Georgia Public Broadcasting. I know that PeachStar can change students' lives by giving them a new way of looking at learning and the world. We envision PeachStar offering a truly integrated, multimedia approach to learning that excites both learners and teachers. To accomplish that, we created a work plan with these priorities:

1. Offer multimedia learning packages A new system for selecting PeachStar programming requires all video programming to have lesson plans, web-based learning activities, and other resources to make it easier for teachers to create exciting learning experiences for students.
2. Support professional development Teachers need learning opportunities too. PeachStar will offer more workshops and conferences via satellite for teachers to grow their professional skills. One such course will cover integrating technology-based media in the classroom. This video/web series will allow teachers to experience technology-based learning themselves and acquire needed skills at their convenience.
3. Maintain close ties with the learning community Education is a collaborative process. To ensure success, PeachStar is developing multiple channels for ongoing communication with its partners. Regular satisfaction/needs surveys will allow media specialists and teachers to express their needs. Involving the Georgia professional associations for the different K-12 subject areas in the program selection process helps us target programming to real Georgia content needs. Participation of our staff in education associations will connect us to the issues.
4. Support integration of technology in the classroom - Imagine a legion of experienced classroom teachers demonstrating to and supporting their peers in utilizing technology and PeachStar in daily classroom activity. We are making that a reality by creating the PeachStar Specialist Team. By next school year, this team, along with our existing satellite help desk service, video on request line and web site will give educators the tools they need to teach our children to succeed ? in school and in life.

This ambitious plan gives us much work to do. Our talented staff, now organized in three functional teams, already is hard at work making achievement not simply a goal but a way of doing business. We thank you for your support and look forward to an even more productive, rewarding partnership as we move forward. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to share them with us. We are here for you so you can be there for your students.

C. Blaine Carpenter, Ph.D.
Division Director
PeachStar Education Services