SCSC Newsletter
March 2021
The SCSC Commends Vaccination of Charter School K-12 Educators and Staff, State Charter School Student Artwork 

Happy March from the SCSC! We are excited to see many teachers and school staff across the state receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, making in-person instruction safer in Georgia.  

Last month, the SCSC celebrated Black History Month by honoring the educational contributions of Black Americans. Look back on our social media to see the achievements of these great Americans. Additionally, take time to view the State Charter School Foundation’s virtual art gallery, showcasing art from 150 state charter school students showing how they are staying connected to others during the pandemic. 

The SCSC will hold their next board meeting on March 31, 2021 at 10:00 AM. Meeting details and a list of board meetings for 2021 are listed on the meetings page of our website. During that meeting, the SCSC will discuss upcoming professional development and governance trainings. 

SCSC General Counsel, Cerrone Lockett, will be going on maternity leave soon to welcome the birth of her new son. We are excited for her and hope she enjoys this exciting time with her expanding family. 
Georgia COVID-19 Vaccine Announcement, Updated DPH Contact and Return to School Guidance, CDC Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools

GA Covid-19 Vaccine Announcement
The coordination between schools and local public health departments on a vaccine strategy for school personnel are already underway. And on March 23rd, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and Governor Brian Kemp announced the expansion of its COVID-19 vaccine eligibility beginning March 25, 2021, to include all Georgians aged 16 and older. Schools are encouraged to reach out to their local public health department if they would still like assistance obtaining vaccine doses for their faculty and staff. Appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine are available online at

DPH Contact and Return to School Guidance 
Georgia Department of Public Health released new Contact and Return to School Guidance documents to reflect the new CDC quarantine recommendations for those who are vaccinated. Please review. If you have any questions, contact Matt Cardoza ( with GaDOE.

Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation
Please see the updated CDC guidance and the CDC issued Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation.

Note that much of the CDC guidance is not new or different from what CDC has issued around school reopening in the past, but it is put in one place as a roadmap. Some of the highlights include:
  • Evidence that show schools can safely reopen for in-person instruction when health and safety protocols are in place and based in science. 
  • Recommendation to prioritize two mitigation strategies: universal and correct use of masks and physical distancing. 
  • Clarification of the community risk indicators to inform reopening and link directly to information on community transmission. 
  • Acknowledgement that many schools are already providing in-person instruction and should continue to do so in accordance with health and safety protocols. 

In alignment with CDC’s updated operational strategy, the U.S. Department of Education published its first volume of its new COVID-19 Handbook. This is a supplement to the CDC operational strategy with recommendations for the school setting.

Assistive Technology Resources, Update on Bonuses
Assistive Technology
GaDOE’s Division of Special Education Services and Supports – the Assistive Technology (AT) Partnership, a collaboration between GaDOE and Georgia Tech’s Tools for Life wants to make sure you are aware of a free resource for students with disabilities.

The AT Partnership provides access to AT services, software, customized training, and a lending library for participating school districts. Participating districts receive basic AT services at no cost, and can access services like coaching support on implementation of evidence-based practices for AT, and districtwide licenses of AT software that can help students with reading, writing, math, and study skills.

For a look at the impact the AT Partnership has made in three Georgia school districts, click here. An article providing additional information is available on the Georgia Department of Education’s new blog site.

If you would like to learn more about the AT Partnership, please contact Paula Gumpman at

Bonuses Update 
Earlier in the month, GaDOE released a Frequently Asked Questions document related to the $1,000 bonuses announced by Governor Kemp for teacher and school-based staff. We hope this will answer most, if not all, the questions we know you all have and are receiving from your staff.

Also, with the State Board's approval of the bonuses, GaDOE has scheduled a webinar to discuss the process for distribution, accounting , and reporting of the grant. The webinar is scheduled for Monday, March 29, 2021, at 1 p.m. The registration information will be sent to the Finance, CARES, and Data Collection Officers. Because there are capacity limits on webinars, please ensure only those employees who are involved with the processing of the bonus are registered so everyone can attend. The webinar will be recorded.

GaDOE has also provided a document outlining bonus allocation totals by district. During the webinar, GaDOE will walk your staff members through the process of who is included and how we determined these allocations based on job codes. PLease see the following document showing which job codes we are covering in the allocations. Since the original bonus announcement was made in January, GaDOE has expanded the employees who we are covering under this allocation by using additional CARES III funding.


The Georgia Department of Education Office of Teaching and Learning is currently accepting responses to an annual survey. Used to gather information regarding school-level and district-level practices and goals related to STEM and STEAM programming.
Different survey links are provided for district leaders, school leaders, and teachers. Please share with your staff accordingly. The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Your input is a valued part of our planning process as they seek to advance STEM and STEAM education in Georgia.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Lya Snell,
State Charter Schools Foundation Virtual Art Gallery Now Available, Provides Students Laptops & Request for Sponsors

Virtual Art Gallery Now Available
Visit the State Charter Schools Foundation's virtual art gallery to see the entries for the first annual Art of Connection Exhibition of Student Art! Nearly 150 state charter school students created art showing how they have stayed connected to others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Awards will be presented soon. Stay tuned!
Ethos Classical Students Receive Laptops
Several students from Ethos Classical received laptops to keep so that they can always access learning through the SCSF's partnership with InspirEDU. Families are also receiving digital literacy and technical support. Several thousand state charter school students still do not have a device at home. If you would like to donate used devices or form a partnership to have a greater impact, email
Sponsors Needed for Shining Star Teachers Program
The State Charter Schools Foundation is looking for sponsors for our Shining Star Teachers program! Last year, we received 300 nominations for teachers going over and above. We want to recognize our amazing state charter school teachers again this year with Amazon gift cards and recognition on our website. Please contact if you, your business, or organization would like to help sponsor this program. To see last year's honorees, please visit the SCSF website.
State Charter Chatter
Foothills Alumni Spotlight: Jordan DeSalvo
Please join us in congratulating Foothills Education Charter High School as they celebrate one of their Corrections graduates, Jordan. Not only did Jordan complete his high school diploma while at Burruss State Prison but, after he was released, he went on to work on a post-secondary degree that he will finish this spring. This is what Foothills is all about - giving students a second chance.

Thanks to the Burruss Foothills Team for working with Jordan so that he can become a contributing Georgia citizen!

Heartland Foothills Education Charter School Holds Ribbon Cutting
The Butts County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting with Heartland - a division of Foothills Education Charter High School in Jackson on Feb. 23. While the school has been open since last August, the ribbon-cutting was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions at the facility, and the ribbon-cutting remained restricted at the request of school staff.
SCSC Meetings
The next SCSC monthly board meeting is scheduled for March. 31, 2021 at 10 AM. A list of upcoming meetings for 2021 can be found on the meetings page of the SCSC website.

Student Wellness Survey

Student Wellness Survey
The Georgia Student Health Survey, Georgia Parent Survey, and Georgia School Personnel Survey will not be administered during the 2020-21 school year. Instead, GaDOE has developed a brief Student Wellness Survey which will be administered to middle and high school students. The administration window will be open from February 1, 2021 through April 2, 2021.
The Student Wellness Survey was designed to collect data on student wellness during the current school year; it is anonymous and completely voluntary and includes questions about peer and adult social support, bullying, stress, mental health, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. There is no mandatory participation rate required by GaDOE and no thresholds to meet for the survey, since it is voluntary. The data will not be used to calculate School Climate Star Ratings. The survey results will provide districts and schools with data regarding the non-academic barriers to learning being faced by their students.
FY21 Reporting Calendar
The State Charter Schools Commission’s (SCSC) FY21 Reporting Deadlines calendar is available on the SCSC website here. Please note that most deadlines are established by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and are subject to change. The SCSC makes every attempt to ensure that it maintains all dates as accurately as possible. However, all schools are encouraged to stay up to date of any changes to the timeline made by GaDOE. Any failure by a state charter school to meet deadlines established and enforced by the SCSC and GaDOE will be reflected in the school’s assessment through the SCSC Comprehensive Performance Framework.
Data Collections Deadlines
FY21 GaDOE Data Collections Deadline
  • CPI Cycle 2 Collection - Initial transmission is due March 11 and final transmission is due March 25, 2021.
  • Student Class March Cycle - Initial transmission is due March 11 and final transmission is due March 25, 2021.
SCSC Upcoming Trainings & Events
Governance Training Live Session (Opportunity 3 of 3)
Target Audience: Governing board members and school leaders
Apr. 13, 2021- Held Virtually
As a reminder, Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 20‐2‐2084(f), requires that every member of a governing board of a state charter school participate in annual governing board training. In order to assist governing board members with this obligation, the SCSC will offer its final live General Session option for FY21 on April 13th. Please click here to register to attend. As a reminder, board members must plan to attend this session during its scheduled time in order to receive credit for attending.
The remaining breakout sessions are available as pre-recorded webinars that board members can complete at their convenience. Additionally, each training will have a quiz which the SCSC will use to verify participation. Breakout webinars can be found here. For more information regarding annual governance training requirements, please visit the SCSC’s website here. If you have any other questions regarding governance training, please contact Kristen Easterbrook at
Funding & Professional Development Opportunities
2021 Next Gen Games
Next Gen would like to invite you to the reimagined 2021 Next Gen Games - A virtual showcase of student excellence on Saturday, March 27th (10:30am - 12:00pm).
You can RSVP for the event here: 2021 Next Gen Games 
This is a FREE event where you will come together to hear from their youth through inspirational creative works - multimedia portraits, student voices - and help build a supportive village community around those who need us now more than ever.
Everyone who attends will receive a Next Gen Starter Kit mailed to them, raffle entry for prizes, and the opportunity to experience a one of kind event.

2021 National Charter Schools Conference
Registration is open for the 2021 National Charter Schools Conference. The conference will be held virtually June 20-23. Here are more details and a link to register. You can also complete this survey on what, and who, you want to see at NCSC21.

GaDOE Professional Learning Catalog
The Georgia Department of Education released its latest professional learning catalog. The catalog is available at the link here Professional Learning Catalog from the Georgia Department of Education. 
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The State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia (SCSC) is a state-level, independent charter school authorizing entity. The SCSC has the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools and renew, nonrenew, or terminate state charter school contracts in accordance with Georgia law.
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