Saturday, October 19, 2002

PeachStar Classroom Offers Georgia High Schoolers Course Credit

Teacher shortage has become epidemic in American classrooms today, and Georgia is no exception. PeachStar Education Services and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the agency that oversees the certification of Georgia educators, collaborated to develop a solution to this problem in Georgia classrooms. The result of that collaboration is PeachStar Classroom, a multiple-media based initiative to provide credit-bearing college preparatory courses to Georgia high school students.

Since Georgia has a shortage of certified teachers in specialized secondary-level science areas such as physics and chemistry, PeachStar and the PSC chose physics and chemistry as the first courses to be developed as part of PeachStar Classroom. These stand-alone courses are being piloted in three Georgia systems over the 2002-2003 academic year:

* Dodge County Schools
* Ben Hill County Schools
* Calhoun County Schools

These schools boast diverse student populations, both in terms of achievement level and socioeconomic status. Two additional systems are using the course material to supplement their existing science curricula:

* Gwinnett County Schools
* Taliaferro County Schools

Experienced Georgia educators certified in physics and chemistry developed the curricula for both courses based on the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum guidelines. The primary method of course delivery is through 30-minute satellite broadcasts featuring teachers presenting the material to students, demonstrations of principles and techniques, students asking questions and interacting with the teacher, and short assessments of the material. A certified teacher serving as an onsite facilitator for the class interacts with the students, sets up labs, and administers assignments and assessments for the course.

PeachStar curriculum specialists and project team members will visit the pilot schools throughout the school year, observing their progress and talking with participating students and teachers to find out how the program is working for them. Look for updates in upcoming issues of Pipeline.