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New principals named at Cobb schools

Three new principals were named recently by the Cobb School Board, with each starting July 1.

  • Patricia Alford was appointed to principal of Durham Middle School from assistant principal at Dickerson Middle School;
  • Liss Maynard was named principal at Clarkdale Elementary School from assistant principal at Mableton Elementary School;
  • Tricia Patterson was named principal at Tritt Elementary School from assistant principal at the same school; and

Gail Johnson resigned as principal at Campbell Middle School, effective June 26.

(Excerpted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Read the entire article HERE.) 

 

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State Releases School-Level CRCT Data

Cobb County Schools

Click here for an analysis of Cobb County School District CRCT data for 2014, along with school-by-school scores.

(Source: Cobbk12.org)

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Board petitions for new math test

numbers-math-quant-physics-pi

The Cobb school board recently voted 6-0 to sign a petition asking for a new option in Georgia’s standardized math tests.

Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said there are two different methods to teaching math in the state. Discreet math is the traditional method, where there are separate courses for subjects such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry. The other method is integrated math, which combines elements of each subject.

Right now, Georgia’s standardized test, which starting in the upcoming school year will be known as the Georgia Milestones Assessment System, is geared toward integrated math. The petition asks the state to give school districts the second option of a test geared toward discreet math.

Angelucci said Georgia is one of only four states in the nation to use the integrated math model. She hopes the petition can help change that.

“You have to lead by example,” she said.

Mary Elizabeth Davis, Cobb’s chief academic officer, said Cobb currently uses the integrated math model. 

(Excerpted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Read the entire article HERE.) 

NOTICE OF PROPERTY TAX INCREASE

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The Cobb County School District has tentatively adopted a millage rate which will require an increase in property taxes by 4.78 percent. All concerned citizens are invited to the public hearing on the tax increase to be held 514 Glover Street, Marietta, Georgia in the Board Room on July 10, 2014 at 9am and 6:30pm. Times and places of additional public hearings on this tax increase are at 514 Glover Street, Marietta, Georgia in the Board Room on July 17, 2014 at 8:30am.

Tentative increase will result in a millage rate of 18.9 mills, an increase of 0.862 mills. Without this tentative tax increase, the millage rate will be no more than 18.038 mills. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $225,000 is approximately $68.96 and the proposed tax increase for non homestead property with a fair market value of $300,000 is approximately $103.44.

 

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BoE takes stand against federal food rules

Randy Scamihorn

 

The Cobb Board of Education finds the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 hard to swallow.

School board members have long complained about food standards contained in the act, which is related to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative.

But following a 6-0 vote with David Morgan absent Thursday, those complaints are now documented in a resolution.

“Over 50 pages of federal regulations outlining nutritional standards and requirements for all foods sold in schools is excessively burdensome on local school districts and unnecessary for the purposes of reducing childhood obesity,” the board’s resolution states.

“Families should be empowered and enabled to make food choices for children with support of their local school districts.”

School board members, such as Randy Scamihorn, have said the federal government is going too far with the regulations.

“This is an effort by people who want to get into other people’s lives,” said Scamihorn, the board’s vice chair. “It’s overreach.”

Though the school board doesn’t have the authority to change the new lunch rules, Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci said the size of the Cobb School District might get people’s attention.

“We’re the second largest school district in Georgia,” she said. “Maybe (Michelle Obama) will notice.”

In 2012, school lunches were overhauled to meet the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act’s regulations, which include calorie limits and mandatory whole grain breads. On July 1, similar standards will apply to snack foods sold in school vending machines.

Angelucci said students often throw away their lunch food because they don’t want it, and the lunches don’t have enough calories to support students who have sports team practices after school.

The regulations would also ban foods not meeting the new standards from being sold on campus during school hours. This could rule out doughnuts or Chick-fil-A biscuit fundraisers, which provide sizable revenue to schools.

According to Zach Thomas, owner of the Chick-fil-A on Macland Crossing Circle in Marietta, biscuit sales raised $182,680 for Cobb schools last year.

The school board envisions having other school systems join to create a wider effort that will be noticed nationally.

Scamihorn also predicted the regulations won’t always be followed.

“People will quietly ignore it,” he said. “Americans resent being told what to do from on high.”

A one-page letter outlines the Cobb school board’s opposition to the rules, including a host of grievances. These include the fundraising impact, lower participation in school meal programs, the lack of federal funding to go along with the new regulations and the possibility of more rules in the future.

Schools not complying with the regulations could see a financial penalty of up to $20,000, according to SmartSnacksinSchool.com. Unless the law is changed, schools do not have the choice of opting out or delaying the implementation of the standards.

The school board’s resolution came the same day a proposed ban on large sodas in New York City was struck down by the New York State Court of Appeals. The court ruled the city’s board of health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” in enacting the proposal, according to the New York Times.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal, June 27, 2014. Click HERE to read the original article)

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New math: 5-1-1 = Common Core-aligned textbooks purchased

With the state of Georgia sticking with Common Core, the Cobb school board gave the go-ahead to a set of math books aligned with the standards during a work session Wednesday.

In a victory for Interim Cobb School District Super-intendent Chris Ragsdale, the board voted 5-1-1 to approve his proposal to purchase $7 million in math textbooks and materials to be used for the next seven years.

The books are expected to arrive in time for the start of the 2014-15 school year.

School Board Chair Kathleen Angelucci voted against the purchase, while Vice Chair Randy Scamihorn abstained. Both voted against a similar purchase last year.

Board members Tim Stultz and Brad Wheeler also voted against the purchase in April 2013, which failed 4-3, but decided to vote in favor of it this year.

While all four said they still have issues with Common Core, they stressed the need to put materials in the hands of students and teachers.

“Common Core is awkward, if not incomprehensible,” Scamihorn said. “I’m opposed to Common Core, but I’m also strongly in favor of supporting our teachers, and our teachers needed some materials.”

The Georgia General Assembly nearly pulled the state out of Common Core this spring, but decided against it at the last minute.

“The board basically wanted to hold off to make sure we didn’t have to spend $7 million in textbooks and resources that we were going to have to change in a year or two,” said Ragsdale, explaining the hesitation a year ago.

Last July, the board authorized a scaled-down version of math resources for kindergarten through 12th grades, spending $2.9 million on the purchase.

In addition to the lower cost, the $2.9 million version was composed of digital resources with the exception of advanced courses unaffiliated with Common Core.

Stultz is in the middle of a primary challenge from education consultant Susan Thayer, with a runoff coming July 22 for the southeast Cobb seat.

The winner faces Democrat Kenya Pierre, an attorney, in November. Pierre has said previously said she is not opposed to Common Core.

Thayer has said she would have voted to buy the books last year, and Stultz’s vote puts the two southeast Cobb candidates closer to alignment on the issue.

“Our vote last year gave the state an opportunity to take the state out of Common Core,” Stultz said. “They did not come through, so the district is left with no other option but to give the teachers the resources they need.”

Supporters of Common Core say the initiative creates a consistent set of education standards across the country, proving helpful, for example, to military families when they move from one state to the another.

Yet critics view Common Core as a federal assault on local control. Some believe while the “one-size-fits-all” set of standards helps students at underperforming schools, it lowers the standards at high-achieving ones.

Different books than last year

Ragsdale said the purchase uses textbooks and digital materials from McGraw-Hill for grades K-8 and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for high school students.

The same companies are being proposed for the middle school and high school textbooks as were proposed last year, but McGraw-Hill replaced Pearson for elementary schools this time. Ragsdale said McGraw-Hill’s materials have a stronger digital element.

Scamihorn asked Wednesday if the board could vote on the elementary, middle and high school textbooks separately, but the board decided not to do so. Angelucci said she favored the elementary textbooks, but not the books for middle school and high school.

“If I can’t support a portion, I can’t support the whole,” she said.

Scamihorn said he was ready to vote for the books, but had issues with how the vote was handled. He questioned why the vote was held during a work session rather than next Thursday’s regular board meeting.

Mary Elizabeth Davis, the school system’s chief academic officer, fielded questions by board members about the books.

When asked by Scamihorn about voting next week, Davis said it would delay the book order until after the July 4 holiday and the books wouldn’t arrive until late August.

Scamihorn took issue with the response.

“It was heavy-handed,” he said. “I thought this was pre-determined. They knew exactly what they were doing. But I want to stress that I support the vote. Any abstention goes with the majority.”

Before the board talked about the purchase, school board member David Morgan made a motion to accept the purchase, which was seconded by David Banks.

Seven people spoke to the board during public comment before the meeting, of which six spoke about the textbook purchase. All said they were in favor of buying the math books.

One of those speakers was Michelle Sollicito, who recently campaigned for Post 6 school board member Scott Sweeney.

“A vote against these books is a vote against teachers and children,” Sollicito said.

Others who spoke favorably of the purchase included Connie Jackson, president of the Cobb County Association of Educators, and Stanley Wrinkle, a former Cobb assistant superintendent.

(Reprinted from the Marietta Daily Journal. Written by Haisten Willis, June 12, 2014. http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/25278319/article-New-math–5-1-1-%3D-Common-Core-aligned-textbooks-purchased)

 

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CCSD Enrollment Study Presented

On June 11, 2014, the Cobb County Board of Education heard a report on a recently commissioned enrollment study. The study analyzes growth trends throughout the school district and how these trends may affect future populations. The full report, produced by Davis Demographics and Planning Inc. (DDP), is available here.

(Source: Cobb County Schools)  

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Healthy Summer Meals available for Students

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For kids, summertime should mean food, friends and fun. But for kids who rely on school meals for their primary nutrition, summer can be a time of uncertainty about where and when they’ll have access to healthy food. Free, healthy meals are available to kids and teens at thousands of sites across the country.

To learn more go to www.nokidhungry.org/summermeals or call 1-866-3HUNGRY, or to find a site near you text FOOD to 877-877.

(Source: Cobbk12.org. See more at: http://cobbcast.cobbk12.org/?p=6713#sthash.Pg82PHhA.dpuf)
 

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K-12 Mathematics, AP Foreign Language Instructional Materials Available for Review

Cobb County Schools

The Cobb County School District is offering the public an opportunity to review textbooks and materials being considered for use in K-12 Mathematics, AP French,and AP Spanish. These materials are available for public review May 28 – June 12, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the District’s central administrative office at 514 Glover St. in Marietta. The process for selection and adoption of instructional resources are detailed in District Administrative Rule IFAA-R.

Below is a list of the titles available for public review:

K-5 Mathematics
My Math
McGraw-Hill Education

6-8 Mathematics 
Georgia Math
Glencoe McGraw-Hill

9-12 Mathematics
Analytic Geometry
Holt McDougal

Advance Algebra
Holt McDougal

Coordinate Algebra
Holt McDougal

Acc. Coordinate Algebra/ Analytic Geometry
Holt McDougal

Acc. Analytic Geometry/ Advance Algebra
Holt McDougal

Statistics Through Applications
Bedford, Freeman & Worth

AP Foreign Language
AP Spanish
Abriendo Paso
Pearson Education

AP French
Une Fois Por Toute
Pearson Education

 

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Cobb County Schools on early release schedule this week

Cobb County Schools will be on an early release schedule this Tuesday and Wednesday, May 20-21. School release times will be:

11:30 a.m. – High School Release
12:30 p.m. – Elementary School Release
1:30 p.m. – Middle School Release

The last day of school for students will be Wednesday, May 21. For more information visit cobbk12.org.

 

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