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SCSC Newsletter

July 2019

State Charter Schools Commission Appoints Lauren Holcomb as New Executive Director


The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) announced the appointment of Lauren Holcomb as the agency’s new Executive Director this month. Holcomb most recently served as SCSC Chief Communications Officer and joined the SCSC staff upon its reconstitution in 2013.

“On behalf of the commissioners, we are pleased to announce Lauren Holcomb as our new Executive Director,“ said SCSC Chairman Tom Lewis. “She brings a wealth of knowledge about charter schools and education policy in Georgia. She is the right person to advance our mission to improve public education through quality charter schools.”

A Georgia native, Holcomb has served in a variety of education policy roles throughout her career, including as an advisor to Governor Sonny Perdue and as the founding director of the Innovation Fund in the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. At the SCSC, she has managed outreach, research and support services to build the capacity of charter schools and grow the charter school pipeline. As Executive Director, she will oversee strategic planning, policy, communications and other initiatives for the SCSC. The SCSC authorizes 35 state charter schools that serve nearly 33,000 students across Georgia.

“This is an exciting time for education in Georgia,” said SCSC Executive Director Lauren Holcomb. “I’m honored at the commissioners’ confidence in me and I look forward to working with our board, state leaders and schools to provide students and families with the high quality educational opportunities that every child deserves.”

Holcomb holds bachelor's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and School of Public and International Affairs and a master’s degree in public administration from the Andrew Young School of Policy at Georgia State University. She resides in Marietta with her husband and two children.

Commissioners selected Holcomb as the final candidate for the Executive Director position after a competitive search process. SCSC Chairman Tom Lewis, Commissioner Carmen Dill and Commissioner Jose Perez served on the search committee that recommended Holcomb for the position. Commissioners affirmed the appointment through a unanimous vote. Holcomb succeeds Dr. Bonnie Holliday, who announced her resignation in January. 

State Charter Chatter

  • Home Depot visited Spring Creek Charter Academy to install a new playground system for students. 
  • The Governor's Office of Student Achievement awarded Utopian Academy for the Arts an Innovation Fund Accelerator pilot grant to partner with Georgia Tech, Arts Now and Tree Leaf Music to teach students computer science and coding skills for music production and mobile app design.
  • SCSC staff members and state charter schools attended the National Charter Schools Conference hosted by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 
  • Georgia Cyber Academy held its 2019 graduation ceremony. 
  • The School for Arts Infused Learning (SAIL) hired Gene Dunn of Coweta Charter Academy as its new school leader. 
  • Foothills Graduation High School graduated 27 students from Lee Arrendale State Prison. 
Share Your School News

2019 SCSC Petition Cycle

 
The SCSC has concluded capacity interviews with 19 start-up charter school petitioners for the FY19 Petition Cycle. Petitioners interviewed with a panel of SCSC commissioners, staff and third-party experts in mid-June. Interview panels formulate recommendations for SCSC commissioners to consider at the July board meeting. 
Questions?
Reporting Calendar 
 
Don't miss a deadline! The FY19 Comprehensive Reporting Calendar for schools is available on the SCSC website and the FY20 Calendar will be posted soon. This calendar consolidates LEA and school reporting deadlines from the SCSC and GaDOE in the areas of governance, finance, federal programs, and data collections. Outstanding deadlines will be updated accordingly. 
Get the Calendar

FY 20 GaDOE Data Collections Conference
August 21-23, 2019
 
Each state charter school is required by its charter contract to have at least one representative attend this conference. Further, newly approved schools were required required to submit registration confirmation for this conference by July 15th as part of the mandatory priority milestones on the Pre-Opening Checklist. Schools are encouraged to send multiple representatives to ensure adequate coverage of all relevant breakout sessions. Please note that the conference is extremely well-attended (because of the quality and importance of the information) and space fills quickly. Failing to have at least one representative attend will be noted in the school’s compliance with its charter contract as measured by the SCSC CPF. Information about and registration for the conference is available here. If the training fills up, sign up for the waiting list and GaDOE Data Collections staff will work with you.

SCSC Meetings


The next SCSC monthly board meeting is scheduled for July 31, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will take place in the State Charter Schools Commission Board Room on the 5th floor of the West Tower. Commissioners will vote upon staff recommendations for charter petitions at the July meeting
Meeting Calendar
Academic Summit 
Target Audience: School Leaders, Academic/ Curriculum Directors and Lead Teachers
July 23-24 2019, Cobb Galleria

 
The Academic Summit is a two-day training where SCSC school leaders and instructional staff will explore the impact of curriculum, assessment and instruction on teaching, learning and achievement. Using interactive discussions and data & assessment review exercises led by facilitators from the Georgia Center for Assessment, the training will address three major characteristics of assessment design:
  • Balance of rigor i.e. Depth of Knowledge
  • Alignment to standards and;
  • Universal design principle
This training is especially relevant for teachers at SCSC schools as it provides an opportunity to bring in and review assessments in the context of the Georgia Standards of Excellence ahead of the 2020 school year. Limits are as follows:
  1. If your school has less than 500 students, you may register up to 5 attendees.
  2. If your school has between 500 and 750 students, you may register up to 7 attendees.
  3. If  your school has over 750 students, you may register up to 10 attendees.
Register
Assessment Coordinators Training
Target Audience: Testing Coordinators
July 30, 2019, SCSC Training Room A

In preparation for Milestones testing, the Assessment and Accountability Division of GaDOE will be holding an Assessment Coordinators training for SCSC schools. The training will address the issues faced by testing coordinators from SCSC schools. Topics to be covered include:
  • Completing Irregularity Forms
  • Submitting documentation (i.e., superintendent’s certification)
  • Creating assessment calendars for the year
  • Other Relevant Trainings
  • Test security
  • Accommodations
  • Student Assessment Handbook
  • Planning for the upcoming school year
Register
More SCSC Training Opportunities
GaDOE Support Directory 
 
Providing high-quality service and support to districts and schools is a core responsibility of the Georgia Department of Education. With that in mind, GaDOE created a District Support Directory. Simply enter the name of your district or select it from the drop-down at the top of the page, and contact information for the staff assigned to support your district will appear. You can filter by name, specialization/focus, or title. The directory will be refreshed regularly to ensure the most up-to-date contact information is available.
Get the Directory

Funding & Professional Development Opportunities


2019 Georgia Education Leadership Institute (GELI)
GELI is the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Foundation for Public Education’s annual conference for district- and school-level educational leaders. The Institute is being held 
September 8-10, 2019 at the Marriott Buckhead in Atlanta. Registration is now open.

GaDOE SLDS Training
The Georgia Department of Education's SLDS training team provides training on all components of the Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) free of charge to any Georgia public school. Each session is tailored to suit the audience in attendance and the allotted timeframe provided by school or system level personnel. All sessions are designed to be "hands-on" so attendees should have access to computers during the sessions. Once a training request is received through email or the Training Request Form, a GaDOE trainer will reach out to the requester to discuss training options to meet the needs of the school or system. Click here for a full description of each of training options.

CVIOG Training
Individuals interested in maintaining their charter school financial management certification through the Carl Vinson Institute may enroll in continuing education courses through the Carl Vinson Institute. CVIOG is currently offering the following courses. 

GaDOE Science Ambassador Program
GaDOE Science Ambassadors are in and near your communities, ready to assist with implementation of the new Georgia Standards of Excellence for Science. The Science Ambassadors program provides a cadre of educators to support professional learning at the local district level. The goal of this program is to augment the leadership capacity of science educators across the State. If you would like to request professional learning assistance from a science ambassador, complete the request form found here or contact Amanda Buice, GaDOE Science Program Manager, at abuice@doe.k12.ga.us.

Aunt Flow
Aunt Flow is a female-founded enterprise that stocks 350+ schools and businesses with 100% organic feminine hygiene products. From charter schools like United Schools Network and KIPP to tech giants like Google North America and Twitter HQ, more and more organizations are joining the movement to increase school attendance, recuperate lost work hours and improve the bathroom experience. It's people helping people. Email danielle@goauntflow.com to get started.

Get Georgia Reading Campaign
This campaign is geared toward getting all of Georgia’s children on a path to third grade reading proficiency by 2020. The campaign unites public and private partners to pursue language, literacy, development, and
sustainability to reach this goal. Get involved or read more about the initiative here.

The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The SCSC has the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, nonrenew, or terminate state charter school contracts in accordance with Georgia law.
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