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Class notes: Director speaks at international conference
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A local school administrator received an invitation to present at a conference in Mumbai, India, late last month.

Connie White, director of technology and learning at Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, flew to India to speak at the American School of Bombay Unplugged Conference.

The semiannual conference gives educators access to cutting-edge technology, supporting the 21st-century classroom.

Her presentation centered around developing an integrated curriculum that leverages technology and what is known about information retention.

"I certainly learned more than I taught," she said. "Having the opportunity to learn from other leaders in our field allows us to continue to progress the educational process here at Lakeview."

She also presented at the Technology and Learning Tech Forum in Atlanta last week, and plans to speak at the ISTE Conference in San Diego, Calif., in June.

Measuring teachers' effectiveness

In previous years, teachers have been evaluated based on how their students fared on standardized tests.

What Georgia is doing now is implementing a new evaluation program in 26 districts, including Gainesville and Hall.

"What we have in Georgia to evaluate teachers right now is horrible," said State School Superintendent John Barge. "It's the Georgia Teacher Observation Instrument and it's been around since I started teaching, which was 22 years ago. It doesn't even measure what we do anymore."

His department aims to revamp the system looking at other factors such as in-class observation and quantitative and qualitative data.

"There has to be a way to measure the effectiveness of the teacher other than a standardized test, and that's what we're working on right now," he said.

There have been talks about tying teacher performance to pay, but Barge said the department isn't going there yet.

"We're not even going down that road yet. We have to get the evaluation system right first."

Lee Johnson covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: