CSRA Regional Education Service Agency

4683 Augusta Highway SE
Dearing, Georgia 30808
Fax 706-556-8891


CSRA RESA Newsletter

October 2016

the Director's Corner

Gene Sullivan, Executive Director

Your Vote Matters

On November 8th, voters in Georgia will have some very serious and consequential decisions to make that will effect both our state and nation for years to come. In addition to the presidential election, voters have critical choices to make including whether to amend the state constitution to implement the governor’s “Opportunity School District/ OSD” initiative, choosing a U.S. Senator and several other state races. Many of our district’s voters will decide school board races, school sales tax revenues, and local bond referendums. I have included below some facts about the Opportunity School District Proposal that is intended to educate but not influence your vote.

What is the Opportunity School District?

( www.pageinc.org/OSDinfo)

The Opportunity School District (OSD) is a proposed constitutional amendment which allows the state to take over schools that have scored 60 or below on Georgia’s College and Career Readiness Index (CCRPI) for three consecutive years. The OSD would be run by a superintendent answering directly to the governor.

There are four options available to the OSD superintendent:

  1. Close the school
  2. Reorganize staff, firing and hiring teachers and principals
  3. Transfer the school to the State Charter Schools Commission or
  4. Direct local board to make changes at the OSD schools via contract

The OSDE is authorized to take up to 20 qualifying schools per school year with no more than 100 schools under its supervision at any time. As stated in the legislation, “the schools selected for inclusion in the OSD should represent geographic diversity, including urban and rural schools.”

That facilities of qualifying schools that are transferred to the supervision of the OSD will then be controlled by the OSD. This includes textbooks, technology, media resources, instructional equipment, and all other resources. The OSD will be responsible for maintenance and repair of the building, but the local board is responsible for extensive and capital expenses.

When would the Opportunity School District take over local schools?

( www.pageinc.org/OSDinfo)

Schools will be eligible for takeover by the OSD on Jan. 1, 2017. A school will remain under the supervision of the OSD for a minimum of five consecutive years or, for OSD charter schools, for the term of the initial charter. If a school earns a rating above 60 on the CCRPI for three consecutive years, it will be released from the OSD. The maximum term a school will remain under the supervision of the OSD is 10 years. If an OSD school is converted to state charter status, renewal of its charter will remove the school from the OSD.

The OSD superintendent must identify the schools selected for takeover by April 1st and must specify the intervention method most appropriate for each school by July 1. This information will be published on the website of the OSD.

I hope you will continue to research both sides of this latest issue impacting public education in our state and draw your own conclusions. Another homework assignment is to make sure you are registered to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the November 8th election is October 11th. You may register at your county’s Board of Elections Office or online at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov . While your opinion matters, it is your vote that counts so get registered and take a friend.

Professional Learning Courses
Upcoming courses at CSRA RESA

  • October 4th - TKES and LKES: Changes, Challenges, and Collaboration
  • October 20th - CSRA Media Specialist PLC - details coming soon!
  • October 21st - GA Rural AP STEM Initiative Technical Assistance Workshop
  • November 4th - Nix the Math Tricks for Grades 3-5 Math Teachers (a.m.)
  • November 4th - Nix the Math Tricks for Middle/High Math Teachers (p.m.)

    To register for courses, please click here.

Math Updates

1) Current mathematics teachers should have received an email from Sandi Woodall concerning a survey that will be used to guide the development of additional statewide professional learning resources. The surveys need to be submitted on or before October 5, 2016. If you need more information concerning the surveys, please contact Gin Sellers gsellers@csraresa.org or Brenda Hodgin bhodgin@csraresa.org.

2) Current mathematics teachers should have also received an email from Sandi Woodall concerning the creation of a statewide task force of stellar Georgia mathematics educators to create digital resources for K-10 mathematics teachers. Applications must be submitted on or before October 13, 2016. If you need more information, please contact Gin Sellers gsellers@csraresa.org or Brenda Hodgin bhodgin@csraresa.org.

3) The Georgia Mathematics Conference is GCTM’s flagship professional learning opportunity each year that helps their members connect with one another and with local and national experts in teaching and learning mathematics at every grade level. It is scheduled for October 19-21, 2016, at Rock Eagle 4-H Conference Center in Eatonton, Georgia. The Georgia Mathematics Conference each year promotes ongoing professional development for mathematics education as well as encouraging an active interest in mathematics. The theme for GMC 2016 is Principles to Actions: What’s in Your Toolbox? Registration is now open! Visit their webpage ( www.gctm.org) to find all the details for this event as well as information on how to register.

4) Join Tina Cardone, math teacher and author of "Nix the Tricks" on November 4, 2016, in one of two information-packed sessions that will make you a more proficient math teacher. The morning session (8:30-11:30) is for elementary school math teachers and the afternoon session (12:30-3:30) is for middle and high school math teachers. Being a mathematics student is about critical thinking, justification and using tools of past experiences to solve new problems. Students who approach every topic as a series of steps to memorize are not learning math. In these sessions, we will explore how to replace some popular tricks with teaching for understanding. Click here to register

Spotlight on Literacy Lessons
Check out all the lesson plans on the
Literacy Library page at

Professional Learning Opportunity
“Knocking on Your Door”

Have you ever thought if only I could do some quality, independent, self-directed professional learning activities that really would guide me on HOW to improve ME as a teacher? Have you thought if only I could do my professional learning at a convenient time for ME and maybe even in my pajamas? If any of these thoughts have popped into your mind, you will really enjoy Georgia FIP: The Keys to Student Success. What is FIP, you ask? The Division for Assessment and Accountability is proud to offer Formative Instructional Practices (FIP), a blended model of professional learning for Georgia educators. The courses are designed to assist Georgia educators in learning about formative instructional practices and, most importantly, how to use these strategies to improve teacher and student learning. A key expectation of FIP is that teachers develop the skills to guide students to take ownership of their own learning, a goal every teacher strives to happen.

Educators can participate in GA FIP independently, with a peer group, or through a district or school-wide professional learning community (PLC). Educators can earn course credit hours for completing online modules. And yes, this professional learning supports TKES standards, and your completion certificate can be loaded in your TKES platform.

So by now, you are asking how many modules must be completed. The answer is simple--as many as you want. Find the ones that work for you. For example, if you are a special education teacher, you might want to complete FP1082—Reaching Students with Disabilities. If you are an ELL teacher, you might want to complete FP1080—Reaching English Language Learners. There are modules for everyone and for every content.

Sounds exciting, right? You can sign into the FIP modules with a special access code given to your school. Ask your principal for that code and create your account. Then progress at your own pace. You can even stop in the middle of a module and come back later. This professional learning opportunity is based on your needs and your time. Also, learn more about the FIP initiative by going to GEORGIA FIP .

Take control of your time and your learning! Join the FIP community today!

Please contact Mary Stout or Laura Hooven at CSRA RESA if you need assistance in setting your account.

Are you a "Connected Teacher"?

We are currently seeking teachers
to share how technology is used with your students for learning.

If YOU would like to share
your technology-integrated lessons,

please contact us at dgriffin@csraresa.org

GOSA Growing Readers Update

The second year of the Growing Readers grant is off to a great start! This year there are four counties involved in the Year One training. They are Burke, Emanuel, Taliaferro, and Warren. Burke county is represented by two teams of K-3 teachers, Emanuel and Warren have one team, and Taliaferro has two teachers participating for PL since the other teachers at Taliaferro are Year Two teachers.

Year One Growing Readers (teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches) have already attended a two -day training and are busy conferring with their classroom readers. They used www.readinga-z.com to get a benchmark score for each reader and these scores were uploaded on the GOSA site. Each school will upload independent reading scores at mid- year and at the end of the year to note progress of each reader.

The Year One teachers are actively seeking “just right” books for their readers to use during independent reading. They are also researching how they would like to spend the GOSA funds allocated by this grant. In addition to a year’s subscription to www.readinga-z.com and Raz kids, each teacher has $1351.00 to spend on benchmark books, leveled readers, benchmark assessment system and/or books for their classroom library.

RESA specialists, Mary Jo Kemp and Debbie Callan, are providing conferring support for the next few weeks and by the end of November the teachers will implement conferring on their own as part of a daily practice. They will participate in four more PL days this year and work on fine tuning conferring and working with targeted intervention strategy groups.

The Year Two Growing Readers teachers are continuing the work from last year and focusing on using mentor texts to teach and reinforce reading strategies with targeted intervention groups. They each received $250.00 to purchase mentor texts for their classrooms. They have already participated in one PL day and have a second PL day in January. Counties that are involved in the Year Two PL modules are Emanuel, Taliaferro, and Warren.

The success of the Growing Reader Grant funded by GOSA last year had outstanding results. In fact, the 16 RESAs were told by GOSA that the results were the best results of any other state reading initiative. Last year’s work impacted 16 RESAs, 243 teachers, 61 schools, 37 districts and 5,154 students. We look forward to impacting even more readers this year!

The Growing Reader’s grant goals this year are:

  1. To increase independent reading level for all readers using a leveled tool and an informal method of assessing
  2. To confer and use targeted intervention strategies to help meet goals of each reader
  3. To use whole group, small group, and independent time to teach the specific reading strategies that each reader needs to become an independent reader

Submitted by Debbie Callan

Growing readers in your Middle and High School

Are you looking for ways to engage your 4th-12th grade students?

Would you like to see more students reading in your school community?

The Tome Student Literacy Society's mission
is to promote multiple literacies among 4th-12th grade students.

For more information visit
the links below:


Remember to use the SLDS platform
Student Data, Teacher Resources,
and GOFAR.

Have questions? Ask a RESA consultant for help!

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4683 Augusta Highway, Dearing, GA, 30808

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