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Work in Georgia Begins

Last week was Geogia kick-off week, which marked ERS’ first state-level partnership. Working with a cohort of districts together with the state education agency, this will also be the first time ERS is working with smaller districts. Dougherty County, Fulton County, Hall County, Treutlen County, Vidalia City, and the Georgia Department of Education all participated. Some of the overall goals we heard were: improving outcomes for students, managing resources more strategically and sustainably in tough budget times, and developing a specific set of actions.

Hall County’s Lanier Charter Career Academy hosted us for two days where students in the hospitality and culinary arts programs provided fantastic catering. Our session kicked off with Fulton County Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa sharing his previous experience with ERS in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. “ERS will not have all the answers, but what they will have is data, and the kind of data ERS will provide can help us in so many ways.” The rest of the first day was spent introducing ourselves to our partners, getting to know more about the districts, and talking about where their strengths and opportunities for improvement lie.

On the second day we broke out into groups and played Hold’em, which allowed the districts, together with the Georgia DOE, to think about ways they could protect their priorities while still meeting budgetary cuts. At the end of the session two districts had concrete plans to play Hold’em with their school board. We can’t wait to hear more about it.

With the help of Race to the Top Funding, the Georgia partnership will include working individually with each district to perform resource analysis as well as with the state to:

  • build a greater understanding and create an action plan around correcting areas where state practice, policies or legislations may currently hamper effective resource use
  • provide individual districts with guidance related to their resources for dramatically improved student performance by sharing successes and conducting similar reviews in the future
  • rethink the data collected at the state level to reinforce transformational resource use and make it easier to conduct similar resource allocation reviews

Thanks to everyone who participated! We are looking forward to working with you over the next two years. And a special thanks goes to Hall County for hosting us at Lanier Charter Career Academy and for the invitation to see Tinker the Teenage T-Rex at DaVinci Academy!

 The ERS team members on the Georgia project are:

Don Hovey, Stephen Frank, Samantha Hurwitz, Laura Schick, Robert Daigneau, Joseph Trawick-Smith

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