Wednesday, May 9, 2007

End the School Year with Excellence

Summer is often a time for students to relax and catch-up on reading and read books they might not have time for during the school year. Because of this fact, Achieving Excellence: Inside Georgia Schools, GPB's monthly education news program, is ending out the school year with shows about literacy and literacy programs in Georgia schools.

This month's program is all about the process of learning to read and write. It delves into the topic by asking the question of whether literacy begins in the home or school. The show continues with focusing on the science and developmental stages of reading and writing. It then explores who the main influences are when it comes to a child's literacy development and what resources are in place in Georgia to help with the task.

June's program continues the theme by visiting successful literacy programs in Georgia schools, plus a reminder for students to read all summer.

More information about Achieving Excellence.

Georgia Gets an A in Technology Use

Georgia is the leading state when it comes to technology use in education, according to the annual "Technology Counts" report released by Education Week. The report which scores states in three areas - access to technology, use of technology and capacity to use technology - gives Georgia high scores in all categories with an overall grade of an "A."

Highlights of the report include that about 65 percent of Georgia's students have a computer in the classroom, which is much higher than the national average of 49.5 percent; Georgia is one of just four states that has technology standards for students and tests on those standards; and Georgia is one of very few states that have technology requirements for teachers and administrators seeking certification or recertification.

"From the halls of the Capitol to the hallways of our schools, our state knows how important technology is to student achievement," said Kathy Cox, State Superintendent of Schools. "We will continue to look for ways to expand use of technology and access to technology."

Educators looking for support with using technology in the classroom can find it at GPB Education. GPB Education offers trainings, workshops, and statewide technology network for educators.

To learn more about GPB Education's training opportunities or to schedule a training for your district, please call 1-888-501-8960.

Please visit to become a member of the TIE Network. The TIE Network empowers Georgia educators by connecting them with other educators throughout the region.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Road Trip Wins Telly Award

GPB is proud to announce that Road Trip's Episode 4, "Call of the Wildlife," has been honored with a Telly Award in the online educational programs category in the 28th Annual Telly Awards. The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring the best of local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions.

Created by the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) in partnership with GPB and in association with the national Stay-in-School initiative, Road Trip is now an official hit in the world of educational programs and is among winners that represent the best work in the industry.

This unique and award-winning program, features a seriocomic story that follows two career counselors at the fictitious Callaway High School as they attempt to slow their county's alarming dropout rate by exposing students to the rewards of staying in school.

"Road Trip is an interesting, fun way for students to not only learn more about what the Technical College System of Georgia has to offer, but also see why it's essential that they stick to their studies," said Mike Light, DTAE's Executive Director of Communications.

In the winning Episode 4, "Call of the Wildlife," the counselors realize a college road trip is needed after hearing a student's concern that her best friend, bored with high school, is leaving just before her graduation. She wants to instead settle for a minimum wage job at the local animal park.

So it's off on a road trip to Athens Technical College where they see and hear from students being trained to work with animals of all types and sizes in the college's veterinary technician program. There's also a look at ATC's biotechnology programs, where students are being prepared to enter the high-paying, much sought after life sciences field that include everything from pharmaceuticals to genetic engineering.

Then it's on to Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro and a visit to the agribusiness program where students learn to take their love of the outdoors and turn it into profitable careers. The last trip is to Swainsboro Technical College to see first-hand how students in the college's fish and game management program are learning a wide variety of skills that lead to exciting jobs in wildlife conservation. View this episode.

Georgia Foundation Provides Free Books for Childhood Literacy

Georgia Public Broadcasting's Family Literacy program recognizes and supports literacy initiatives in Georgia that provide reading and language development programs for children and adults, and we want to spread the word about a wonderful childhood literacy organization in Georgia called the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.

The foundation strives to improve early childhood learning for every child regardless of income, race, religion or gender with the philosophy that any child who cannot read is at-risk. After six successful years, the Ferst Foundation has been helping Georgia's youth become better prepared for school by providing one free book a month to children registered with the foundation until they reach the age of five.

This literacy foundation was created after founder, Robin Ferst, read an article about Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, and it continues to move forward with a mission to offer the Imagination Library to all of Georgia's children by 2010. If a child is registered at birth, he/she has the opportunity to receive a total of 60 free books.

Each book provided by the Ferst Foundation is picked by a panel of experts from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and is accompanied by a monthly communication piece that includes a book guide, a child activity page, and opportunities for local community literacy announcements and sponsor acknowledgements.

"Children who learn to appreciate books at an early age will grow up and become better readers, great learners, and become the successful students that we need for Georgia's future," said the Ferst Foundation's Executive Director, Shauna von Hanstein.

Statistics have shown that many Georgia children do not have books in their home, and this has shown to negatively effect a child's success in school. The Ferst Foundation attacks this problem at the core by providing an array of age-appropriate books to families in participating counties in Georgia. Morgan County Schools Superintendent, Stanley DeJarnett, says since their collaboration with the Ferst Foundation they have seen a significant rise on the kindergarten readiness test, and he believes the most influential factor in this rise were the books arriving in the mail from the Ferst Foundation.

The Ferst Foundation believes providing age-appropriate books to as many Georgia homes as possible will not only contribute to a child's growing mind and success in school, but will also contribute to Georgia's society as a whole.

"A home without age-appropriate books is more than an unfortunate by-product of poverty, it has broad ramifications for Georgia," said the Ferst Foundation's founder, Robin Ferst.

With expectations to expand its presence around the state to include the Georgia counties with the lowest literacy rates, the Foundation currently operates in more than 40 counties and urban communities in Atlanta and has been mailing more than 500,000 books to over 37,000 Georgia children throughout its six years of operation.