From the Director

Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education released Top Ten Issues to Watch in 2021, which provides a roadmap for state and local stakeholders as we transition from responding to the education challenges posed by COVID-19 to the long-term recovery efforts necessary to address the needs of students and families.

The report outlines how to reinvent education in Georgia by:
  • rethinking the funding formula;
  • redesigning teacher training and professional development models;
  • addressing statewide broadband access strengthening alignments between early learning, K – 12, postsecondary, and workforce pathways; and
  • implementing system-wide overhauls.
These efforts align with the educational priorities Gov. Brian Kemp outlined in his state-of-the-state address last week.

The pandemic has exposed historic and persistent inequities, and 2021 holds new opportunities for working together to ensure that all children in Georgia thrive.

With gratitude,

#GetGAReading this Month

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The @GAPartnership 2021 #TopTenIssuestoWatch report dives into education policy areas ranging from early learning through postsecondary completion to inform conversations with policymakers, educators, and community and business leaders.

The 2021 #TopTenIssuestoWatch report from Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education outlines how expanded access to high-quality early learning, more effective teacher policies and preparation, increased parent engagement, and the use of technology-driven learning opportunities are some of the critical issues to address as we continue to respond to COVID-19.


Get Troup Reading Pivots to Support Students Learning Remotely During Pandemic

Get Troup Reading’s new literacy volunteer initiatives has pivoted during the pandemic to provide students with crucial supplemental reading support. One program is focused on struggling first graders, while the other combines tutoring and mentoring for older elementary students. The programs are now operating in four Title I district elementary schools.

Head Start Programs Are Successfully Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report highlighting the effective response of Head Start programs in Georgia and other states in managing the spread of COVID-19. The report validated the critical role that increased funding played in enabling Head Start programs to support families. These strategies could serve as a model for the early care and education system across the country.

Georgia Public Library Service Awards Honors

Cherokee Regional Library System was named Library of the Year and Marquita Gooch-Voyd of the Clayton County Library System was named public librarian of the year for their efforts to meet the needs of their communities during the pandemic—such as providing digital library cards, doubling daily open hours, launching a Time with Teacher program, and implementing a hotspot checkout program. Library staff and supporters found many ways to help patrons this year.

School Districts Receive Grants to Support Student Mental Health

Bibb, Hall, and Houston county schools received five-year grants to expand and improve mental health services. Each school system will receive a $360,000 grant through Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) to create resources and identify best practices that will benefit all Georgia schools. Each grantee will assist in developing a statewide framework to provide training.

COVID-19 Creates Increased Disparities in Education

An analysis by McKinsey & Company shows that the pandemic has set back learning for all students—but especially for students of color. Black and Hispanic students are twice as likely as white students to have no live access to teachers, and students of color could be six to 12 months behind by the end of June 2021, compared with four to eight months for white students. Evidence-based acceleration approaches can help.
Visit for a list of timely resources.

Funding Opportunities for Out-of-School Time Programs

The New York Life Foundation is seeking applications for $1,350,000 in grants to after-school, summer, or expanded learning programs for underserved middle school youth. Awardees will be selected based on their ability to help youth transition successfully into ninth grade and the ways in which they are providing academic, social, and emotional supports to youth during the pandemic.

Early Shared Reading Associated with Less Harsh Parenting

Shared reading between parents and young children improves language, literacy, and social-emotional outcomes. A recent study, which examines the effects of shared reading in early childhood on harsh parenting practices like spanking or name calling, finds that shared reading enhances parent-child relationships and is associated with less frequent child disruptive behavior and harsh parenting.

COVID-19 Impacts Communication and Language Skills

A recent study shows that mask wearing, social distancing, virtual meetings and classrooms, and other preventative practices to address contagion concerns may negatively affect communication, particularly in the pediatric population. Increasing awareness and creating innovative methods to promote communication and language learning in both virtual and in-person settings is paramount.

Virtual Strolling Thunder Georgia

Saturday, Jan. 23, 1 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 28, 6:30 p.m.
Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS), in partnership with ZERO TO THREE, is hosting a virtual advocacy training for families with infants and toddlers. Share your stories with elected officials about the joys and challenges of raising young children in Georgia with elected officials to elevate the needs of Georgia’s youngest learners as a statewide priority. Register Now

GLR Learning Tuesdays Webinars

Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, 9, 16, and 23; 3 p.m.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s (GLR) series of online learning events for the GLR Network helps lift up the best science, ideas, and programs to inform local efforts. This series now includes two sessions on most Tuesdays. Register Now

Crucible of Practice Salons
Jan. 26, 12:30 p.m.
This GLR webinar series provides a deep-dive exploration of how community coalitions are approaching and moving the work to improve the early school success prospects of children from economically challenged families, neighborhoods, and communities. Register Now


Innovations for Scaled Impact: 2020 Promising Ventures Fellowship

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, Feb. 4, 12:30 p.m.
Promise Venture Studios is hosting its fourth event in the virtual Show+Tell series. During these two 90-minute sessions, connect with early childhood visionaries from the Promising Ventures Fellowship accelerator program and learn about their high impact, scalable solutions. Check out previous Show+Tell events. Register Now

We Want to Hear from You

Our partners are the heroes in this work, and we want to help connect you with each other and with resources that can help you get even greater results. And we want to hear more stories. Please share yours with us so we can post it to Send your stories—or any questions about the Campaign—to Arianne Weldon at
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