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Gainesville City Schools board to consider new vision for education
Superintendents, boards working to create statewide plan
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Gainesville Schools Board Meeting

When: 6 tonight
Where: Gainesville City Schools Board Office, 508 Oak St., Gainesville
Contact: 770-536-5275

The Gainesville City Schools Board of Education will be asked to officially approve a new vision for education at tonight's meeting, Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

The Vision for Public Education Equity and Excellence in Georgia project, which is a joint venture between the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association, seeks to create a comprehensive and coherent statewide plan for public education.

"It's fully operated as far as the project's concerned," Dyer said. "It started off with some study groups and (Hall County Schools Superintendent) Will Schofield was on one of them. They went through about a six-month process of studying the research base on several areas."

According to the Vision website, the project's mission is to give students a curriculum that "provides a clear connection between successful school completion and subsequent success and satisfaction in life."
The goal areas are early learning and student success; teaching and learning; human and organizational capital; governance, leadership and accountability; culture, climate and organizationalefficiency; and finances.

School systems are asked to follow 46 recommendations, including creating early learning initiatives, developing challenging curricula based on the Common Core Standards, piloting teacher compensation programs based on a performance evaluation system, repealing obsolete provisions of the Title 20 education law and creating an innovative school culture.

Many of these goals are similar to ones already being followed by the $400 million federal education reform Race to the Top initiative in districts such as Gainesville City, Dyer said.

Gainesville City Schools will be implementing Common Core Standards in the 2012 school year, which will help to create common standardized tests and academic resources for the 40-plus states using them.

The teacher compensation programs are a proposed part of the Race to the Top program, but will probably not be put into effect for several years.

Teacher evaluation systems, however, are coming down the pipeline this year.

The school district already began piloting the new system, which includes administrative observation, student achievement data and student surveys.

The Vision project strives to also set up a new funding formula for public education, "which will provide a level of state financial support" to make the initiative a reality, according to the project's executive summary.

As of December 2011, 124 of the 180 Georgia school districts had adopted a resolution to support the Vision project, Dyer said.

"Gainesville City has been working with the goals of the project for the past year. However, our board had not adopted an official resolution of support," she said.

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