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State Board of Education Meeting Report - February Meeting 2023

The State Board of Education received an update on the development of new English Language Arts (ELA) standards at its February meeting. Board members adopted new rules to rename the graduation options for the Dual Enrollment program as well as to update food safety certification in the Statewide School Nutrition Program. They heard presentations on improving the environmental health of school facilities and districts’ use of federal pandemic relief funds. New member Nick Ellis was welcomed by the board.


The board’s meeting agenda is available here and video footage of the meeting is available here.


The next board meeting is March 22 and 23.

Timeline for Implementation of New ELA Standards Extended

Dr. April Aldridge, deputy superintendent of curriculum and instruction, has organized seven meetings with educators, thus far, to review the proposed ELA standards and public feedback. She will continue to work with educators to finalize the standards. Aldridge said the implementation of the ELA standards has been pushed back to the 2025-2026 school year instead of the 2024-2025 school year. This will provide time to develop supports needed to successfully implement the new standards including professional learning and materials.

New Board Rules

The board approved amendments to State Board Rule 16-4-2.34 to rename the Option A and Option B diplomas under the Dual Enrollment program as “Dual Enrollment Requirements for the Traditional High School Diploma” and “Dual Enrollment Requirements for the Accelerated Career Diploma” respectively.


Board members approved changes to State Board Rule 160-5-6.01 to update the certified food safety manager rule, align the rule with the Georgia Department of Education’s training modules for managers, and replace the term “general education development” (GED) with “state approved high school equivalency” (HSE).

School Environmental Health

Caroline Pakenham with the nonprofit organization Elevate shared information on the connection between the health of school environments and the health and academic success of students. The state board is participating in a program offered by the National Association of State Boards of Education to increase awareness of and provide information to improve school environments, which Elevate is assisting. Pakenham explained that exposure to indoor air pollution, mold, pesticides, radon, lead, and other conditions can lead to asthma, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and other problems among students and staff. She also noted that Georgia offers free lead in water testing at schools, though only 38 schools have participated to date. Twenty-two of the 38 schools returned lead results high enough to require action.

District's Investment of Pandemic Relief Funds

Dr. Dana Rickman, president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, shared findings from a multi-year study the organization is conducting on districts’ use of federal pandemic relief funds. Districts have invested the funds in three broad categories: school operations, student learning and well-being, and the educator workforce. She noted that most participating districts reported difficulty recruiting and retaining educators across multiple areas.

Board Member Transitions

The board welcomed Nick Ellis, who was sworn in as the representative of the First Congressional District. Ellis is a captain in the City of Jesup Police Department and served as a member of the Wayne County Board of Education from 2014 to 2022. He is active with the Boys & Girls Club. Board members recognized the contributions of Mike Long and Scott Johnson, whose terms on the board have ended.


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