Friday, March 3, 2006

Youth Art Month

On February 8th art educators, students, families, and Georgia legislators met to celebrate Youth Art Month (YAM). YAM is a national event held every March that is designed to emphasize the importance of quality art education for all children. YAM was created in 1961 as a service to Art educators and the public.

YAM Objectives:

* Recognize Art as a NECCESSITY for the COMPLETE development of a high quality of life for all people.
* Direct attention to Art Education as an effective vehicle to teach critical thinking, communication skills, self-expression and multicultural awareness.
* Increase community, business and government support for Art Education.

Thursday, March 2, 2006


What are some of the key education issues facing Georgia in 2006 and what makes them headline grabbers? The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education in its "Top Ten Issues to Watch" takes a close look at the subjects it feels need addressing if the state is to see improvements in its educational system. The Partnership is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to improve student achievement in public schools.

The Partnership's policy and research director, Deirdre Johnson, comprehensively researched and wrote the 16-page document. "These are not the only issues Georgia will face in the coming months," she explained, "but they are the key areas we must address if we are to continue to improve student achievement."

Many of the subjects are headline grabbers around the country as well as in Georgia. For example, preparing students for a global economy and its ensuing competition has put a renewed emphasis on reforming and improving our educational system. More instructional time, the role of middle and high schools and teacher quality are all issues covered in the report.

What role does Georgia's changing demographics play in its education system? The state's emphasis on early learning has made it a leader nationally but where do we go from here? Adequate funding for all Georgia school systems is another issue that will be a hot topic throughout the year. The new Georgia State Student Information System is scheduled to finally become operational in 2006. Will it bring improvements?

Another major discussion heard in state after state, including Georgia, is how do you define and measure educational excellence? The No Child Left Behind law was established in an attempt to answer that question. It set defined performance standards as it sought to help states ensure workforce readiness and global competitiveness. Where is Georgia when it comes to accountability as it strives for excellence?

Partnership President Dr. Stephen Dolinger feels the report provides a unique and detailed look at areas of focus that Georgia's education, business, community leaders as well as citizens will or should be addressing in the coming months. "The bottom line is this, education is economic development. Everyone has a vested interest in seeing Georgia succeed."

The publication comes in two parts. A two-page executive summary provides a brief overview of each issue while the main 16-page report takes a three tiered approach looking at the political context, policy perspective and what's next for Georgia. Both the summary and report are available on the Partnership Web site. Hard copies are available by E-mail request at or by calling 404-223-2280.

Founded in 1990 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Economic Developers Association, the now independent Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education consists of business, education, community and government leaders who share a vision of improved education. Working to be Georgia's foremost change agent in education, the Partnership takes lead roles in efforts to inform education stakeholders, shape policy, and reform education.

GPEE Top 10 2006 Brochure

GPEE Executive Summary 2006

Contact: Bill Maddox
Phone: 404-223-2464

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Nengajoo Project 2006

The Irasshai office sends a big DOOMO ARIGATOO to all students and facilitators who participated in the Nengajoo Project 2006. We received nearly 200 submissions of beautifully designed, artistically created New Year's cards, many of which featured Year of the Dog images. We received some traditional, some modern, some unusual, some resourceful works, all of which were very inspiring. We hope all who participated in the project enjoyed their oshoogatsu (New Year's) experience of nengajoo design.