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Class Notes: Feds move to withhold Race to the Top funding
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In a letter addressed to Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education said it intends to withhold $9.9 million in Race to the Top grant funding from the state.

The letter, published on Education Week at, lists concerns over the amendments that Georgia has placed on its original application to the program. The requested amendments fell under the Great Teachers and Leaders portion of the grant, notably over concerns of the state’s teacher evaluation process.

The letter also includes information that Georgia has “indicated that it will no longer implement one of the goals and commitments related to performance-based compensation system,” as the state had outline in its Race to the Top application.

The state can avoid the monetary withdrawal by providing a plan and evidence “to implement the full scope of the performance-based compensation system described in its approved application and Scope of Work,” according to the letter.

Brian Robinson, Deal’s deputy chief of staff for communications, says the governor plans to do just that.

“Gov. Deal will make sure the state works with the U.S. Department of Education and presents a plan that will fulfill the promises of the state’s original application,” he said.

Georgia was awarded $400 million to implement its Race to the Top plan, according to the state’s DOE website.

Caldwell named director of Complete College Georgia at UNG

Sheila Caldwell has joined the University of North Georgia as the director of the statewide initiative Complete College Georgia.

“I love this whole mission because I think it’s really going to transform education,” she said in a news release. “I think this is really going to be a catalyst to engage the whole community and get them involved in education. People know the value of education, but as we engage business and industry, K-12 and the entire community, we need to let them know how we’re trying to help make a stronger community, a stronger region and a stronger Georgia.”

Caldwell is the former state coordinator of high school initiatives for the Technical College System of Georgia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Argosy University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in workforce education from the University of Georgia.

In her position with the Georgia system, she worked on enrollment growth strategies and was focused on growing dual enrollment programs. Prior to that position, Caldwell worked in admissions at Northwestern Business College, Illinois Institute of Art and Georgia Medical Institute.

UNG receives grant for technological, adaptive learning

The University of North Georgia has received a $99,999 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to information released Tuesday.

The school will be part of the Gates Foundation’s study of the effectiveness of adaptive learning, using technology for personalized instruction for students placed in remedial or developmental courses. Students are enrolled in these classes to improve skills in areas in which they did not score highly on college placement tests, like reading.

The news release stated that a pilot program shows that students who completed at least 90 percent of a developmental reading program had a pass rate of 92 percent on the exit exam. Studies have shown that students who perform well in developmental courses are better able to succeed in other college courses and complete college.

The grant money will be used at the UNG Oakwood and Oconee campuses. The Oakwood campus will use it to expand its developmental reading and English classes.

Gainesville board meeting Thursday

The Gainesville City School System will hold a board meeting at noon Thursday in the Gainesville High School gymnasium. The meeting has been called to approve personnel. An agenda will be made available on the system’s website,

The regularly scheduled work session takes place at 6 p.m. Monday at the school board office, 508 Oak St.

Carly Sharec covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her:


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