Saturday, November 9, 2002

Studio GPR Brings Local Music Scene to Listeners and Learners Across Georgia

In September of this year, Georgia Public Radio (GPR) launched Studio GPR, a two-hour weekly music show that blends in-studio musical performances with interviews with guest artists. Studio GPR's host, Terrance McKnight, a music producer here at GPB and an adjunct professor of music at Morehouse College, refers to the show, which features local and nationally renowned artists as "a window onto Georgia's vibrant musical landscape."

Beginning his radio career at National Public Radio as a staff member on NPR's Performance Today, Terrance views Studio GPR as an opportunity to share with listeners the "incredible amount of great music being made all over Georgia every day." In addition to sharing music with his audience, Terrance offers insight into the lives and thoughts of the musicians themselves through the interview component of the show.

One of Terrance's goals for Studio GPR is to ensure its educational value to the Georgia learning community. He plans to accomplish this goal by bringing artists and student audiences into the studio the first Tuesday of each month to record a session to be used in upcoming editions of Studio GPR. During these sessions, similar in structure to master classes, students will have an opportunity to ask questions of the artists performing and on some occasions bring their own instruments. Student audiences will range from grade five to grade 12 and will come away from their experience at Studio GPR with a greater knowledge of public radio style, an understanding the basics of music performance in a studio setting, and the benefit of interaction with professional musicians.

Be sure to record the following November Studio GPR features at 8 PM Thursdays and 10 PM Sundays to share with your class:

* Georgia's All State Bands & Orchestra
* Georgia's Middle School Treble & Mixed Chorus
* Georgia's All State Jazz Band...and more.

Friday, November 8, 2002

Thanks to Some of PeachStar's Star Teachers

The 2002-2003 school year is well underway and we are fast approaching the season of Thanksgiving. At this special time of year, the staff of PeachStar Education Services would like to take an opportunity to offer our thanks to all of the educators across Georgia for whom and with whom we work. The mission of PeachStar is to provide high quality educational resources that enrich, inform, and support the Georgia learning community, and we rely upon Georgia educators, as the main conduit for education in the state, to serve as our main point of contact with learners in the K-12 population.

Over the years, educators in Georgia have come to recognize PeachStar as a forerunner in the field of educational technology and content, but what you may not know, is the important role played by educators like yourselves in much of the work PeachStar does. In addition to serving as liaisons between PeachStar and the classroom, several educators have dedicated themselves to working with PeachStar staff on the development of the resources we provide to Georgia learners.

In this article, we will acknowledge three of the educators who have demonstrated their commitment to learning in Georgia by joining PeachStar in multiple projects designed to enhance classroom learning and educator professional development. Each of these educators, representing the elementary, middle, and high school levels, has devoted hundreds of hours of her time to the creation of PeachStar resources, including the review of content and alignment of it with Georgia's curriculum framework, the redesign of the PeachStar broadcast schedule to follow the order of instruction in Georgia classrooms, and the creation of professional development resources such as Workshop In A Box.

Peggy Coffey is a National Board Certified fifth-grade teacher at Kanoheda Elementary School in Gwinnett County. During her tenure as a Georgia teacher, she has taught all grade levels between preschool and grade eight, earned a Master's Degree, an Education Specialist Degree, and is currently pursuing her doctorate. Peggy first joined forces with PeachStar in 2000, as part of the QCC Correlation Program, PeachStar's initiative to correlate our video library to the QCC standards. After receiving training onsite at PeachStar, Peggy continued working with two other teachers off-site one night a week to view and correlate videos. According to Peggy, " I liked the friendly professional people at PeachStar and found the information I learned very valuable. I feel what I learn during the summer and one night a week carries over into my classroom and improves my students' learning." Peggy has continued her work with PeachStar through such initiatives as the 2001 Teacher-In-Residence program, the 2002 Educator-In-Residence program, and the development of the new PeachStar broadcast schedule.

Judy Cox is a seventh and eighth grade earth and life science teacher at Dodgen Middle School in Cobb County. During her 18 years as a classroom teacher, she has earned both her Master's and Specialist Degrees in Education. For the last seven years she has taught gifted and talented students on the middle school level. Judy first joined the devoted group of PeachStar teachers in 2001 when she came to Atlanta to participate in the Workshop In A Box program. She has worked with a triad of teachers as part of the QCC Correlation Project to correlate PeachStar's content rich programming to the Georgia QCCs. During spring 2002, Judy led her triad in the development of a lesson plan to be used by Georgia teachers for The Secret Seashore, a GPTV original production. Over the summer of 2002, Judy joined curriculum directors and other teachers like herself in an effort to redesign the PeachStar broadcast schedule so that it is in sequence with curriculum instruction in Georgia classrooms. Judy feels that her work with PeachStar has allowed her "a richness of experience and professional development" that she can share with "both students and colleagues." She considers herself "fortunate on many levels to be involved with PeachStar Education Services," and "looks forward to PeachStar programs expanding as we continue to help improve education for students all over our state."


Peggy White serves as the Special Education Department Chairperson and Senior Class Advisor for Shaw High School in Muscogee County. During her 19 years of teaching in the state of Georgia she has earned Master's and Specialist Degrees in Education and is currently a candidate for National Board Certification. Peggy began her work with PeachStar in 2000 with the QCC Correlation Program and has continued to be part of PeachStar initiatives ever since. She participated in the 2001 Teacher-In-Residence program and the 2002 Educator-In-Residence program as well as performing additional consulting work for PeachStar. Additionally, Peggy serves as a facilitator for PeachStar's Annenberg Professional Development offerings. Peggy believes that as a teacher, it is her responsibility to continue learning herself. In fact, she even tells future teachers that "once as a teacher you quit learning, then it is time to quit teaching." According to Peggy, "PeachStar has opened a new avenue of learning for me. The availability of programs have aided my students by allowing the use of multiple modalities in learning."

In addition to their active participation in PeachStar educational initiatives, each of these educators has served as a PeachStar ambassador in her local education community. Every day, these teachers lead by example through their incorporation of PeachStar programming and resources into classroom instruction. They serve as PeachStar advocates, sharing their positive experiences with colleagues and administrators at conferences as well as in daily interaction. Their willingness to be featured in Pipeline Magazine offers every educator across Georgia the opportunity to witness firsthand the kind of impact PeachStar can have on teaching and learning in Georgia.

Thanks again to Peggy Coffey, Judy Cox, and Peggy White for being outstanding educators and devoted supporters of PeachStar in the classroom. The impact that the involvement of educators such as these has on the shape and focus of PeachStar endeavors could never be stressed enough.

Monday, November 4, 2002

The Georgia Department Of Education Sets the Standard for Reading Instruction

PeachStar is pleased to present The Reading Excellence Act Best Practices Institute, a new 10-episode series developed by the Georgia Department of Education (GA DOE) and produced at the Georgia Public Broadcasting facility. This series was created to model best practices according to the Reading Excellence Act passed by the United States Congress in 1998; the Act allowed states to compete for grant funds to implement comprehensive reading programs based on the scientifically-based reading research contained in the following six essential dimensions of reading instruction:

* Phonemic Awareness
* Explicit Systematic Phonics
* Vocabulary
* Fluency
* Comprehension
* Motivation

In 2001, the Georgia Department of Education was granted substantial funds to implement comprehensive reading programs in Georgia schools. This series, developed as part of the GA DOE's effort to help schools build and implement such reading programs, features some of the nation's leading educators; researchers; and specialists in reading instruction, student achievement, and family literacy, including:

* Dr. Craig Jerald, Education Trust and Research Center
* Dr. Sharon Walpole, University of Virginia
* Dr. Peg Griffin, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children
* Dr. Joseph Torgesen, Florida State University
* Dr. Patricia Edwards, Michigan State University
* Dr. Jay Samuels, University of Minnesota
* Dr. Steve Stahl, University of Georgia
* Dr. Michael Pressley, University of Notre Dame
* Sharon Darling, Center for Family Literacy
* Dr. Bonnie Lash-Freeman, Center for Family Literacy

Each episode offers viewers a detailed introduction and discussion of the particular dimension being discussed. The blending of these dimensions into a comprehensive reading program is also discussed along with the importance of family literacy and parental involvement.

A New Look for Georgia Learning Connections

By Sara Pitts

Georgia Learning Connections (GLC), the Georgia Department of Education's curriculum website, is pleased to announce its new look! In July 2002, a redesigned GLC was launched amid the cheers of approval of educators across the state. GLC's new look is more user-friendly for the site's visitors and better highlights the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) standards and the accompanying resources. Currently PeachStar and GLC are working on a video production designed to walk educators through the new GLC site. Look for Georgia Learning Connections: Video Site Guide to air on PeachStar in the coming months.

GLC introduced several new features in conjunction with the redesign, the most exciting of which is the Projects and Programs area located under the QCC Standards & Resources link on the homepage. Projects and Programs will profile each of the educational programs of the Georgia Department of Education with resources such as curriculum overview, lessons, Web links, and more. Don't miss "Spotlight on..." a showcase for information that will benefit Georgia educators like new additions to GLC, exciting lesson plans, and conferences being held around the state. To facilitate the site's navigation, a left-side navigation bar was added and can be found on every page of the site. For example, if you are looking at links about language arts education in the Teacher Resource Center (TRC), decide instead to look up lesson plans in the Ninth Grade Language Arts sequence, you no longer have to return to the homepage and start over. Just click on the "Sequenced Lesson Plans" link on the blue bar on the left side of the page to access the lesson plan page. Another feature that will help you keep track of where you are on GLC is the "You are here..." area located across the top of every page. GLC is a large site with thousands of resources and this area will help you map your way around to your favorite GLC pages.

You can still find all of your favorite GLC resources on the site, but the format of each has been improved for ease of use. You can now search for Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) standards and the correlating resources by clicking on the "QCC Standards & Resources" link. If, on the other hand, you want to search the entire GLC website simply click on the "Search GLC" link from the homepage. The Lesson Plan Builder is in the same format as always, but now opens in a separate window to allow you to move easily between it and the main GLC website. You'll also find the TRC in the same familiar format, as well the sequenced lesson plans.

GLC is always adding more and better resources, having recently reached a total of more than 12,500 lesson plans on the site. GLC is currently seeking to augment the diversity of materials for the TRC, adding such categories as Copyright Issues and First Year Teachers.

The new site recently won First Place for K-12 Education in the Best of the Web contest sponsored by Converge Magazine and The Center for Digital Cities. The entries in the contest were judged on innovative use of online technology, efficiency, economy, functionality, and user participation. GLC wants to invite all of its users back to check out the new look; newcomers are also invited to log on to see the premier website for Georgia educators. GLC wants your feedback; be sure to share your thoughts and suggestions in the online GLC Guestbook.

Visit the new site and look for Georgia Learning Connections: Video Site Guide on PeachStar to find out how Georgia Learning Connections can help you in the classroom.

Sunday, November 3, 2002

PeachStar and Georgia's ETTCs Join Forces to Serve You Better

The mission of the Georgia Educational Technology Training Centers (GA ETTC) is "to provide high quality, low cost, convenient access to educational technology training for educators serving, or preparing for service, in Georgia's Pre-K through Postsecondary (P-16) schools." As the ETTCs form the primary delivery system for comprehensive instructional and administrative technology training for P-16 educators in Georgia, PeachStar and the ETTCs have joined forces to offer Georgia educators an even more complete training package.

One of the primary functions of the ETTCs is to provide The Georgia Framework for INtegrating TECHnology (In Tech) training, designed to build skills and improve performance in five areas of instructional proficiency:

* QCC Content Standards
* Use of Modern Technologies
* New Designs for Teaching and Learning
* Improved Classroom Management
* Enhanced Pedagogical Practices

According to the State Data and Research Center, of which the ETTCs are a part, "The Georgia Framework for INtegrating TECHnology, a Professional Development Model, is grounded in the premise that technology training for educators and school support personnel will ultimately improve schools and the achievement of students."

Within this framework are three components: a classroom module, a technical support module, and an administrative model. By implementing this framework, schools anticipate a variety of benefits, including student-centered classroom instruction, technology-empowered teaching and learning, state-of-the-art technologies and services, and restructured schools designed to motivate students.

For classroom teachers, the framework is taught in three phases: INtegration, INfusion, and INnovation. The first phase, INtegration (InTech), which consists of 50 hours of training for educators with low technological proficiency, requires participants to be immersed in a technology-rich professional development environment in order to ensure they achieve a basic level of technological proficiency. During the INfusion state, designed for educators who are comfortable with technology integration, builds participants' existing content knowledge and technology skills through the practical application of technologies for accelerated teaching and learning. The INnovation phase, designed for educators who are already technology proficient, offers ideas for dynamic ways to enhance and empower student learning through technology.

As part of the new alliance between PeachStar and the ETTCs, the ETTCs will now offer an overview of PeachStar resources as part of their technology training. Trainings will cover both the satellite and Internet delivery of PeachStar resources as well as how those resources can be integrated into instruction.