Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Cobb County Continues Campaign For Alcohol and Drug Awareness

Fall 2003 marks the fourth year that PeachStar and Georgia Public Broadcasting has partnered with the Cobb State Court Judges Council to bring the message of alcohol and drug abstinence to students across Georgia. The Cobb County Alcohol and Drug Awareness Conference, a biannual conference broadcast live from a different Cobb County school each year, seeks to educate Georgia middle and high school students about the dangers of drug and alcohol use through a variety of approaches.

The fall event, to be held at Wheeler High school in Marietta from 9 AM-2:30 PM on Friday, October 31, will feature the following presentations:

* Motivational Speaker Randy Haveson
* Inmate Forum - This portion of the program will allow students across the state to ask questions of currently serving inmates online at www.cobbcounty.org/adad. The inmates will discuss how drugs and alcohols contributed to the behaviors that led them to prison
* Juvenile Court Forum - Members of the Juvenile Court System will discuss gang awareness
* Drug Dog Presentation - A specially trained dog from the K-9 division will demonstrate the way police use drug dogs to locate illegal narcotics
* Super's Corner - Cobb County Superintendent Joseph Redden will look at the role of the county's Public Safety Department, "Campus Police," in relation to alcohol and drug awareness
* Public Safety Exhibits - Exhibits will address such topics as public safety special operations, including STEP, COPS and DUI Task Force Units
* Legal Consequence Forum - Representatives from the criminal justice system will be on hand to answer questions in a roundtable format

Tune in to PeachStar's Channel 420 on October 31 to see the program live! For more information, visit the program website at www.cobbcounty.org/adad.

Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Survey Says...

PeachStar is dedicated to improving the content and quality of our programming and services. In order to reach that goal, PeachStar conducts an annual survey to help us gain a better understanding of your needs as both teachers and media specialists as well as to get your feedback on our existing programs and services.

Between March and April 2003, 796 media specialists responded to PeachStar's 2003 Annual Survey, which was administered electronically by Burke Incorporated, a third-party research firm. The survey contained 58 questions that examined broad areas such as use of and satisfaction with PeachStar services; use of and satisfaction with PeachStar programming; sources of information about PeachStar; equipment; and accessibility. The bulk of the survey was arranged in the form of statements that survey respondents answered using a Likert scale. For example, the question may be "Do you use PeachStar's Satellite Delivered Programming?", and your answer choices would be Yes, No, Not Accessible, or Not Familiar With. In addition to these questions/statements, there was an open-ended section that allowed respondents to provide feedback in their own words.

The overall response was very positive, indicating high levels of satisfaction in many areas, though there were a few areas in need of improvement. PeachStar will take all of the information gathered through this survey into consideration as we make changes to our programs and services and plan for future initiatives.

According to the survey results, 91% of teachers use Pipeline magazine as one of your sources of information about PeachStar, with the media specialists themselves being the second highest-rated source at 83%. More than 90% of the media specialists surveyed indicated that their school uses PeachStar's satellite-delivered programming, while 58.6% use PeachStar's newer Internet-delivered resources.

1. Answers to questions about the quality of PeachStar programming and services were overwhelmingly positive. More than 85% of teachers answered Agree or Strongly Agree as how they feel about each of the following statements made about PeachStar resources:
a. Have instructional integrity by providing a context for learning including the following:
b. Learning goals
c. Performance objectives
d. Varied instructional strategies
e. Assessment strategies
2. Stimulate students' prerequisite knowledge
3. Encourage active student participation in the learning process
4. Provide authentic activities that connect learning to real-world situations
5. Enhance learning retention and transfer
6. Extend and enhance learning for students in my school
7. Facilitate my ability to be more engaging in my instructional delivery
8. Allow me to tap into varied learning styles (multiple intelligences) of my students
9. Help me to be a better media specialist
10. Allow me to have greater efficiency in working with teachers and students by supplementing school resources with PeachStar programs
11. Are on the forefront (leading edge) in offering Georgia educators resources in multiple media formats:

The information provided in the annual survey was invaluable not only because it gave us a good reading of how PeachStar is used and perceived by the state as a whole, but how utilization is affected by specific factors such as geographic location, accessibility, services, and quality. Thank you to all of the media specialists who took the time to participate in this important work. Remember, PeachStar is always eager for any feedback you may provide regarding our programming and services.

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

First Lady's Summit Brings Our Children To Forefront

First Lady Mary Perdue has long been known for her commitment to children. On August 27, 2003 she cemented that commitment with the First Lady's Summit On Our Children, a statewide event anchored in Atlanta and held simultaneously at seven regional sites. The Summit was designed to bring attention to the plight of the state's abused and neglected children and to launch the Our Children Campaign, the First Lady's effort energize community resources on behalf of Georgia's children. In addition to the Atlanta site, concerned citizens were able to participate in the Summit from the following satellite locations:

* Augusta
* Toccoa
* Macon
* Tifton
* Dalton
* Columbus
* Savannah

The day began with a welcome by Georgia Public Broadcasting's Executive Director James Lyle and was followed by remarks from Deb Smith-Callahan of Pfizer, Our Children Campaign Steering Committee Chairperson. First Lady Mary Perdue then welcomed participants and spoke about her recent research into the area of child abuse and neglect in Georgia as well as her vision for the Campaign's future. Governor Sonny Perdue also joined the presentation to lend his support to the Campaign and to share many of the efforts he is making to improve child welfare in the state.

The opening session also included a passionate recounting by Shane Salter, Chief of Staff in the Washington D.C. Deputy Mayor's Office and a former foster-child. Other speakers included IBM's Ann Cramer, who shared the importance of corporate support for initiatives such as the Our Children Campaign, and Bishop Harold Dawson of One Church, One Child, who delineated the role the church can play in the important work of child advocacy.

After the morning session, the Summit broke into workshops that focused on four key areas:

* Prevention
* Courts
* Foster/Adoptive Parents
* Housing & Services

Summit attendees were able to attend an two of these workshops, which featured moderators who are experts in the various fields that impact child welfare. The day drew to a close with a final meeting of the full group, where Mrs. Perdue received feedback from each of the regional sites and shared her vision for the Our Children Campaign. Mrs. Perdue challenged all of the participants in the Summit to get involved, saying, "These are my children. These are your children. These are our children."

To learn more about the First Lady's Our Children Campaign or how you can become involved in the work of child welfare, call toll free at (866) 786-6661 or visit the web at www.gov.state.ga.us and click on First Lady's Our Children Campaign.

Saturday, October 4, 2003

PeachStar Fine Tunes Fine Arts Holdings

Long a solid provider for high quality core content like math, science, and reading, this fall PeachStar is establishing itself as a strong source of Arts Programming. Last year, in recognition of the importance of the arts to a well-rounded curriculum, PeachStar hired a full-time Fine Arts Project Manager to cultivate arts holdings that would have the greatest impact on Georgia classrooms.

PeachStar always uses rigorous selection criteria in acquiring programming for broadcast to Georgia schools, and the acquisition of arts programming is no different. Programs selected must align with the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum standards in the area of Fine Arts. Additionally, programs are selected based on the quality and integrity of content in the areas of Dance, Music, and Theater Arts. Selected programs must also demonstrate a range of topics and experiences that respond to the making, seeing, performing, and critiquing of the arts. As always, educator feedback is an important factor in choosing programming that will air on PeachStar.

As you know, the elementary programming schedule has been reorganized this year in order to meet the needs voiced by teachers across the state. According to the new schedule, Fine Arts programming will air each weekday between 8-9 PM according to the following plan:

* Monday - Dance and Theater Arts
* Tuesday - Music
* Wednesday - Visual Arts
* Thursday - Visual Arts
* Friday - Multi-arts Series

Fine Arts programming will air regularly on Channel 420 on Fridays. Channel 430, which features adult learning and educator professional development programming, will feature Fine Arts programming for educators throughout the week.

PeachStar has already expanded our arts holdings a great deal, but will continue to acquire additional programming throughout the school year. We now send out E-lerts about the new programming we air; if you are not already receiving them, send an email to aturner@gpb.org and we will add you to the distribution list.

For more information about PeachStar's Fine Arts programming or to schedule presentations or staff development workshops on arts education, contact Barbara O'Brien at (404) 685-2545 or bobrien@gpb.org.

Friday, October 3, 2003

Educator In Residence - Redefined

This summer PeachStar held our third annual Educator In Residence (EIR) program, a series of intensive educator professional development trainings that offer Georgia teachers and media specialists the opportunity to expand their skills sets in a variety of areas, including video production, multiple media integration, and media specialist skills. Unlike those held in previous years, the 2003 EIR programs made use of webcasting technology, which allows us to broadcast live or taped trainings via the Internet to users in remote locations across the state.

The most competitive workshop this year was definitely the Institute for New Media Specialists (INMS), a rigorous training program designed for media specialists with less than five years experience. In its second year, the INMS has expanded greatly from its original four-day curriculum to include 20 training modules that cover key topics ranging from standards for media center operation to copyright to developing a public relations plan for a successful media program.

New media specialists participated in the program both at the Georgia Public Broadcasting headquarters in Atlanta and at satellite sites across Georgia via live webcasts. The initial phase of the Institute covered the first 10 training modules, with the remaining 10 scheduled via webcast throughout the school year. Each training module was led by top media specialists with years of experience in their area of expertise. Topics covered included:

* Standards, Rules, and Policies for Media Center Operation
* Evaluating the Overall Media Program
* Budget
* Media Program Operations (collection mapping, weeding, building, cataloging, circulation)
* Information Resources (PeachStar, GALILEO, Georgia Learning Connections)
* Information Literacy Skills
* Collaborating with Teachers on Planning Student Instruction
* Collaborating with Parents and Volunteers
* Developing a Plan for Your Media Program
* Copyright
* Working with Special Initiatives (book fairs, visiting authors, Georgia Media Festival)
* Storytelling
* National Board Certification for Media Specialists
* Video Production
* Grant Writing
* What Kind of Leader Are You?
* Collaborating with System and School Administrators
* Collaborating with School Staff to Plan Professional Development
* Collaborating with Public Libraries
* Developing a Public Relations Plan for Your Media Program

While participation in these modules, which are part of the Institute for New Media Specialists, is limited to those educators who signed up in Summer 2003, PeachStar has additional professional development opportunities available.