Georgia on my Mind

A story of collaboration in the Peach State.

One of the problems we face in education is that we work in silos. You’ve got P12 school districts working in one silo. You have universities working in still another silo, and then there’s another silo where state agencies work. We’re often not on the same page. Because we’re not, we often don’t get done the things that we need to do that make a difference for meeting all of the needs for children in schools. The important thing is figuring out how to get out of the silos so that we can work together.

–David Hill

Georgia is making leaps and bounds toward dismantling silos with many statewide efforts. One example of a silo-breaking effort is the partnership between the CEEDAR Center, the Georgia Department of Education, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Columbus State University, Georgia State University, and Kennesaw State University. This team collaborates to develop effective teachers and leaders who can improve Georgia’s future by graduating ALL students who are ready to learn, live, and lead.

The representatives from different stakeholders formed the State Leadership Team (SLT) and are on the path to meeting blueprint goals. The SLT created common blueprint goals for committees to address and implement at each entity. The teacher and leader preparation reform committee is tackling a broad range of areas within a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). Universities are using innovation configurations (ICs) in the areas of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), classroom and behavior management (for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports [PBIS]), principal leadership, reading, and math. State professionals are also focusing on best practices for collaboration/co-teaching.

The preparation program evaluation committee focuses on data, data, data!  Specifically, this committee is working toward reviewing and streamlining current reporting outputs to minimize redundancy and increase efficiency. Additionally, the committee will establish practices and procedures for sharing data across stakeholders, refine processes for using data to improve preparation programs, and support new teachers during induction.

The ultimate goal for the certification committee is to create a system of support for teacher professional learning across agencies for the newly rolled out four-tiered certification structure in Georgia. Currently, the team is developing and piloting models for a seamless transition from pre-service certification to induction certification. The model includes using data from the pre-service program to help candidates identify strengths and needs in developing a personal/professional learning plan that candidates take with them during the transition to induction.

Reducing initiative fatigue and increasing authentic collaboration are top priorities of the alignment committee. Karen Wyler from the Georgia Department of Education, who also serves as a CEEDAR-GA co-state lead, said that “the GA team has been able to ensure that dots are connected to leverage—not layer—this work.”  The alignment committee is hard at work leveraging efforts such as the GA Equity Plan, the Network for Transforming Teacher Education, and the State Strategic Improvement Plan. Meanwhile, the committee is also ensuring multilevel, consistent, and ongoing communication and collaboration within and beyond the SLT. They have already started outreach across the state to build buy-in and create structures to assist in broadening the SLT work and establishing sustainability of efforts.

DaShaunda Patterson, a faculty member at Georgia State University, highlighted the opportunity and challenges. She said, “I absolutely think the things that we are doing with CEEDAR are scalable. The trick for us will be to create systems that are clear and that have transparent processes so that we can describe those systems and those indicatives to other places. I think we need to have a common language and vision for the work that we are doing. That will allow us to develop a narrative that is common so that when we are communicating with other universities or other agencies, we can have a message that is uniform. That is how we can make this work scalable.”

If you are interested in learning more about the CEEDAR Georgia effort, contact Meg Kamman (mkamman@coe.ufl.edu) or Erica McCray (edm@coe.ufl.edu).

Questions or Comments?
Contact us at ceedar@coe.ufl.edu

OSEP LogoThis website was produced under U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Award No. H325A170003. David Guardino serves as the project officer. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or polices of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, or enterprise mentioned in this website is intended or should be inferred.