Saturday, April 24, 2010

Superintendent Cox Uses Advisory Councils as Communication Tool

When Superintendent Kathy Cox took office in 2003, she made one of her top priorities improving communication with the thousands of people across the state who dedicate their lives to educating our children. As a former classroom teacher, she knows communication is a two-way street, and that input and feedback from those in the classrooms is vital to ensuring our children receive a quality education.

Specifically, Superintendent Cox created Advisory Councils for the purpose of communicating directly with Students, Teachers, Parents and Principals, those groups who are the most directly affected by the policies of the State Board of Education. These groups meet multiple times throughout the school year and act as liaisons to the Department of Education. Advisory Council members serve one-year terms.

The Student Advisory Council consists of about 50 students from across Georgia who meet four times a year all around the state. Their meeting locations highlight Georgia’s Colleges, Universities and Technical Schools. The Student Advisory Council has also visited, as a group, Zoo Atlanta, the Carlos Museum at Emory University, the State Legislature, and the Georgia Academy for the Blind. These students provide direct input on topics such as Testing, the Dropout Rate, and Student Leadership.

The Teacher Advisory Council is made up of Georgia Teacher of the Year finalists, Milken Award winners and other outstanding teachers from around Georgia. These teachers meet to advise the Department on such topics as Teacher Training, Discipline, Testing, and the Georgia Performance Standards.

The members of the Parent Advisory Council are nominated by their local school district to serve for a year as an advisor and an ambassador. The members of this Advisory Council are mainly focused on how to increase parent and family engagement to ensure student success.

The Principal Advisory Council is actually made up of two separate groups of principals: one of elementary principals and one of secondary principals. These two groups meet separately and provide the Department of Education with their expertise concerning topics that include SAT Scores, Best Practices and Graduation Coaches.

These Advisory Councils have been an effective tool for improving the lines of communication between the State Department of Education and the people it serves. By re-electing Superintendent Kathy Cox to a third term, you can be sure that these Councils will continue to provide feedback and new ideas to an administration focused on improving student achievement.

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