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DeKalb poetry slam for young writers

March 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Young poets who live in DeKalb County are invited to read their original works at a poetry slam on Friday, April 19, 2019 at the Mason Mill Recreation Center.

The event is open to writers ages 5 to 17. There are only 20 available spots, and the deadline to sign up is April 5.

There’s no cost to participate; tickets for audience members are $5 each.

Categories: Uncategorized

HB 444 would modify dual enrollment

March 12, 2019 3 comments

Dual enrollment is an important educational option for gifted students, especially those students whose home high schools don’t offer a wide variety of AP or advanced courses, or those who prefer the more serious environment of a college campus.

Students taking part in Georgia’s Dual Enrollment Program take classes at colleges or universities — public or private — at no cost, and earn both high-school credit and college credit for those classes.

HB 444, which passed the Georgia House of Representatives last week and is now in the Georgia Senate’s Higher Education Committee, would make two significant changes to dual enrollment:

  1. Dual enrollment at four-year colleges, whether part of the University System of Georgia or private institutions, would be open only to high-school juniors and seniors. This is a change from existing policy, under which freshmen and sophomores also are eligible. (Under the bill, sophomores could still take classes at the state’s technical colleges.)
  2. The Dual Enrollment Program would pay for a maximum of 30 semester hours (45 quarter hours) of college-level classes per high-school student. Once this cap of “covered” hours is reached, students could take additional dual enrollment classes by either A) paying out of pocket, or B) charging the additional dual enrollment hours against their future HOPE Grant or HOPE Scholarship.

To explain this second point, let’s say a high-school student has participated in dual enrollment since her junior year. By the time she reaches the spring semester of her senior year, she has taken 30 semester hours of classes at Georgia State University, all of which have been paid for by the Georgia Dual Enrollment Program. Now, she wants to take an additional 12 semester hours of classes at GSU. Under HB 444, she could either pay for those classes herself, or she could have them paid for by the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC), in which case the 12 semester hours would be deducted from the maximum credit hours allowed to her under the HOPE program.

The caps on the HOPE Scholarship are a maximum of 127 semester hours or 190 quarter hours. This bill wouldn’t change those caps.

In our example above, the student taking an additional 12 semester hours at GSU could have those classes paid for by GSFC, applying them toward her HOPE allotment. If she goes on to receive a HOPE Scholarship, she would then have 115 semester hours remaining of HOPE Scholarship eligibility.

I contacted a legislative relations staff member with GSFC, who said it’s his interpretation that if a student exceeded the dual enrollment coverage limit, had additional dual enrollment classes paid for through GSFC, and didn’t end up receiving a HOPE Scholarship, they wouldn’t be required to reimburse the money to the state.

As with any legislation, changes to the bill are likely as it works its way through the legislative process.

My opinion? This is a good and necessary bill, crafted in response to an audit of the dual enrollment program that found explosive growth and spending, as well as some abuse of the program. Dual enrollment students taking one or two classes per semester at a college or university won’t bump into the 30-hour cap. Those who do reach the cap can still take additional classes without paying out of pocket by tapping into their future HOPE award.

The purpose of this bill is to keep the Dual Enrollment Program — and the HOPE program — solvent, and that’s crucial to Georgia’s gifted students.

Categories: Advocacy and policy

Saturday morning classes in Gwinnett for elementary students

February 19, 2019 Leave a comment

Gwinnett Alliance for Gifted Education is hosting another round of its Saturday Exploration Program next month.

These Saturday morning classes cover a variety of topics, from math and science to history and performing arts. They are primarily for students in grades 2 to 5, though one class (CSI Detectives) is open to 1st grade students as well.

Classes will meet March 2 through March 23 and will be offered at three campuses:

  • Bethesda Elementary School in Lawrenceville
  • Chesney Elementary School in Duluth
  • Partee Elementary School in Snellville

Cost to enroll is $50 for GAGE members, $75 for non-members.

Registration deadline is this Friday, Feb. 22.

Categories: Enrichment

Scholarships for 7th graders with high achievement and financial need

February 18, 2019 Leave a comment

The application period for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Program, a scholarship for high-performing students with financial need, is open through March 14, 2019.

The Young Scholars program awards scholarships that can be used for enrichment — from music lessons to summer programs — or for private-school tuition. Students apply when they are in 7th grade, and scholarship winners receive financial support for five years, beginning in 8th grade.

Award winners also receive academic guidance from advisers with the program, and participate in summer programs.

To apply, a student must come from a family with an adjusted annual gross income of $95,000 or less. The median annual family income of students selected in 2018 was less than $40,000.

The application has lots of parts to complete, including personal and teacher recommendations, so it’s wise to get an early start.

Watch backyard birds for science

February 12, 2019 Leave a comment

I’m always excited to pass along opportunities for kids to take part in real scientific research. If you have birds in your back yard, you can participate in two different citizen science projects this winter and spring.

Each of these projects brings in data from thousands of people to help scientists track bird populations and migrations. This data provides scientists clues into how birds are being affected by climate change and suburban development, among other factors.

First, the Great Backyard Bird Count will start this Friday, Feb. 15, and continue through Monday, Feb. 18. Now in its 22nd year, this worldwide project is a cooperative effort between the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada.

To participate, you’ll count the birds you see in your back yard for as little as 15 minutes on any of the four days. You can do more than one day, or watch longer if you want. Then, you submit the data you’ve gathered using an online form.

The second opportunity is Project Feederwatch, which runs longer and is slightly different. This year’s Project Feederwatch kicked off in November and will continue through early April. The project is operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.

When you join Project Feederwatch, you’ll receive a research kit by mail with complete instructions. That can take a few weeks, but you can start counting even before you receive your kit. You’ll count birds no more than once a week and submit your observations online.

Not only can you collect data for either of these projects, but you can also view the data being collected all over the world — a great opportunity to see scientific research in action.

 

Categories: Enrichment

Make plans for Atlanta Science Festival, March 9-23, 2019

February 10, 2019 Leave a comment

The Atlanta Science Festival returns next month, March 9-23, 2019, with a broad slate of activities for kids, teens and adults.

Among this year’s events for kids are:

  • Mathapalooza, a sort of math open-house that challenges kids with math games and puzzles. Saturday, March 9, at the Ebster Recreation Center in Decatur.
  • Astronaut Job Fair, a full-day event for kids ages 9 to 13, to tickle their imagination about the possibilities of working in space. Monday, March 18, at Fernbank Science Center.
  • Pi Day, math-related fun for younger kids. Thursday, March 14, at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta.
  • Family Zoo Safari Camp, a three-hour program that introduces kids ages 4 to 13 (with their parents) to what it’s like to be a zookeeper. Saturday, March 16, at Zoo Atlanta.
  • Eco-Geo Expedition, a scavenger hunt at Arabia Mountain. Sunday, March 17.

Teens (and adults) have plenty to choose from as well: introduction to curling (the Olympic sport)  . . . outer space in science fiction . . . neuro-engineering . . . honeybees . . . and much, much more.

There are literally dozens upon dozens of programs and events to choose from, far more than I can list here.

They’re not all downtown, either. Scanning the events list, I saw locations from Mableton to Marietta.

Many events have limited space and require you to register ahead, so don’t wait until the last minute to take a look and sign up.

As it does each year, the festival culminates in the Exploration Expo, a free event with more than 100 informative and interactive booths, Saturday, March 23 at Piedmont Park.

Categories: Enrichment

Emory Math Circle spring semester starting soon

January 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Emory Math Circle is a place for kids who think math is cool.

Students in grades 6 to 12 use games, puzzles and problems to look more deeply at how math works and discover fundamental advanced math concepts.

Math Circle meets on Saturdays or Sundays — about twice a month — on the Emory campus. Groups are taught by Ph.D. students from the Emory Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

The spring session of Math Circle is cranking up, and they still have a few spots open, starting as soon as this weekend. The program is free.

 

Categories: Enrichment