SCSC Newsletter
May 2021
The SCSC Announces Summer Interns, Welcomes New Commissioners & Conducts End-of-Year School Visits
Happy May from the SCSC! We are eager to announce our newly-appointed commissioner, Mike Dudgeon. Dudgeon is the Chief Research Officer for the startup LifeBell AI and has served in the public sector for many years in different capacities, including on the Forsyth County Board of Education. Dudgeon has a passion for youth and public service and is very active in the community as a foster parent and non-profit donor.

The SCSC is also happy to welcome our new cohort of legal interns for the summer. Elliott Race, Jae Yeon Jeong, and Claire Maloney have each completed their first year at Emory University School of Law and are excited to bring their legal skills and expertise to SCSC. They will be assisting in petition due diligence, supporting our compliance with the Open Meetings and Open Records Act, and improving SCSC’s news and owned media, among other important work.

Lastly, this month our commissioners had the pleasure of visiting Brookhaven Innovation Academy, Ivy Prep Academy, and Yi Hwang Academy of Language Excellence. The commissioners saw firsthand how these schools are working hard to serve students safely in their buildings and provide high-quality instruction whether students are learning in-person or from home.

Read below for more updates and important information.

Commissioner Mike Dudgeon
Lt. Governor's Nominee, 2021-2025
Summer 2021 Legal Interns
2021-22 School Year: Remote Learning Waiver
As the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine becomes more broadly available, the SCSC expects brick and mortar state charter schools to offer full-time in-person learning to all students next year. While flexibility will always be provided in exceptional situations, we believe your students achieve best when your programs are implemented with fidelity and as contemplated in your charter petitions.

We also understand that some students may require accommodations next school year due to medical conditions or other exceptional circumstances. To ensure state charters have the flexibility to accommodate student needs, the SCSC board approved a one-time opt-in charter waiver for the first semester (ending December 31, 2021) of the 2021-22 school year.

The waiver will allow:
  • Schools to provide remote learning to 25% or less of the student population through December 31, 2021; and
  • Schools to establish parameters for remote learning eligibility (e.g. require a medical note, etc.).

The waiver will NOT allow schools or students to waive accountability or assessment requirements. In other words, the SCSC will continue to hold all state charter schools to the same academic performance expectations, regardless of instructional model. Before the expiration of the waiver, the SCSC will assess the need to provide an extension. Participating schools will be required to share information about the school’s remote learning program, including the number of students participating, eligibility criteria, the instructional delivery model, staffing plans, and student performance.

If your school would like to opt into the waiver, complete this form and return it to Erin Wright, SCSC Associate General Counsel, at by June 30, 2021.
Save the Date!
Georgia's Reimagining Education Conference

The Georgia Department of Education is hosting Georgia’s Reimagining Education Conference, a two-day virtual conference providing resources and best practices from divisions across GaDOE, June 21 and 22.This conference is meant for Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents, Curriculum Directors, Principals, Assistant Principals, School Improvement Specialists, Instructional Coaches, and Teacher Leaders

Dates and Times:
June 21, 2021 | 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
June 22, 2021 | 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Registration information will be released on the School and District Effectiveness Events and Conferences webpage and shared via email on June 1, 2021. There are no registration costs associated with this conference.Please direct any questions to Dawn Ashmore

Grant Opportunity: Innovation Education Fund

The Innovation Fund Foundation is pleased to announce the Innovative Education Fund Grant Program – a grant opportunity for public schools, school districts and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The application opens on May 3rd and closes May 31st. You can access the application here.

What is the Innovative Education Fund?
The Innovative Education Fund provides between $2,500 to $10,000 over one year for eligible organizations – traditional public and charter schools, school districts, and nonprofits organizations partnered with public schools and districts – to implement innovative projects that deeply engage students.

Who is eligible to apply?
To apply for an Innovative Education Fund grant, your organization must be one of the following:
  • A Georgia local education agency (LEA)/school district*
  • A Georgia traditional public school or charter school
  • A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a current Form 990
Priority Points
Applicants are eligible for priority points in one of the following areas:
  • Schools Identified in the Bottom 5% of Performance: Schools identified on the Turnaround Eligible Schools
  • Minority Majority Schools/Districts: Schools and school districts identified as being composed of a 50.1% or more minority student population (refer to GOSA Report Card).
  • High-Need, Rural Schools/School Districts: Schools and organizations are only eligible to receive points for this category if the proposed grant program serves a school district located in a county designated as Tier 1 or Tier 2 based on the Georgia Department of Community Affairs’ annual job tax credit tiers AND is located in a county with a population of 35,000 or less (refer to this map and list of high-need, rural school districts).
The Office of Whole Child Supports invites you to virtually join Coping With COVID-19: Supporting Mental Health in Our Schools, a Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) symposium on June 2-4.

Over the course of three days, trainings from the RESA/GaDOE MHAT menu will be offered as live virtual sessions at no cost. Choose from 18 different trainings, including: 
  • OWLS: Workplace Wellness
  • QPR: Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention
  • Re-Engaging Georgia's Learners and Educators After a Crisis
  • Trauma/Brain 201: Developing Resilience
  • OWLS: Building Resilience in Youth
  • Ending the Silence About Mental Health
  • Youth Mental Health First Aid
  • Trauma 101 for Educators
Learn more about the trainings being offered and register here: or at
Register for the days, times, and sessions you want – there is no obligation to attend all three days.  
If you have any questions, reach out to Ashley Harris (  
State Charter Schools Foundation
The Book Wagon Brings Books to Students

The SCSF's new Book Wagon brought books to elementary students at 12 state charter schools in May! Students were able to select a book from the wide variety of picture books, leveled readers, and chapter books to keep. Each book came with a nameplate on the inside cover. The wagon is a part of the SCSF's new initiative to support reading and literacy by 3rd grade, which has shown to be a strong predictor of on-time high school graduation. "We decided to give books to students because many have not had access to school and public libraries for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Michele Neely, president of the SCSF. "When children saw the wagon and then understood that they could select their own book and keep it forever, they were so excited. Our state charter school students have experienced learning disruptions, and many have lived through other challenges and trauma during the past year. Giving them a book for the summer was one small thing we could do to show our support for their learning. School leaders have already told me that students are asking when the Book Wagon is coming back!" said Neely.

This tour of the Book Wagon was made possible by the generosity of Turnbull, Holcomb & Lemoine, PC and other private donations. To help the SCSF give more books to more students and support the SCSF's literacy initiative, please give online at
Honoring Shining Star Teachers

The SCSF has named their 2021 Shining Star Teachers! This school year has been challenging in many ways, and teachers have worked hard to ensure that their students continue learning and thriving. "All of the state charter school teachers across Georgia have shown amazing resilience and dedication throughout the school year. Their actions speak volumes about their passion to serve the children of Georgia, which we at the SCSF are extremely thankful for. We know that this dedication will pave the way for another successful school year in the coming fall," said Chris Sears, SCSF board chair.
Twenty-five Shining Star Teachers were selected from nearly 140 nominations received from parents, students, coworkers, school leaders, and others. Winners were selected by a panel of judges for consistently going over and above to serve their students and school communities. Each winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card courtesy of AirTutors, and they will each be featured on the SCSF's social media channels (SCSFofGA). To read about these Shining Stars, visit
State Charter Chatter
Ranked Best High School in Middle Georgia

Congratulations Academy for Classical Educations (ACE) for being ranked the #1 high school in Middle Georgia by U.S News & World Report! With a 100% graduation rate and a 59.8 college readiness score, ACE has excelled expectations also being recognized at the #11 high school in all of Georgia. Click here to read more about about their ranking score and factors.
State Charter School Student Launches STEM Company

Georgia Cyber Academy's very one, Alaina Davis, is the founder and owner of STEM Powered Kit, a company that sells curated science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) kits paired with complementary instructional videos!

“I really like science, and I wanted my company to make science and STEM more fun for every age group,” said Alaina. The kits are designed to support and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in users.

Alaina ultimately decided to start her business in May of 2021 because she believes the world needs innovation and problem-solving skills now more than ever.

We are so proud of her revolutionary product kits!
Creative School Arts Integration School of Excellence Award

Congratulations SAIL - School for Arts Infused Learning on being awarded the Creative School Arts Integration School of Excellence Award by Georgia Department of Education! SAIL's students have access to art integration in every subject and are both rigor and relevance in the arts integration program while also involving the community and being well organized. Keep up the amazing work!
SCSC Meetings
The next SCSC monthly board meeting is scheduled for June 30, 2021 at 10 AM. A list of upcoming meetings for 2021 can be found on the meetings page of the SCSC website.
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 Update
2021 CCRPI Live Data Verification Tool Available in the Portal

On March 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education approved Georgia’s waiver of several accountability, school identification, and report card requirements. (For more information about the waiver, please review the 2021 Accountability Waiver FAQ 3.29.21.) Though there will be no 2021 CCRPI summary score for the state, school districts, or schools, some CCRPI-related data, such as achievement rates, participation rates, and graduation rates, for example, will still be calculated and publicly reported by Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).

Due to this, GaDOE is providing schools and districts with a valuable accountability resource – the Live Data Verification tool. The Live Data Verification tool, available now in the CCRPI portal with demographic and attendance data and provides summary data from Student Record that updates nightly as your district updates the data. Additional Student Record data (such as students in the 2021 4-year graduation cohort) and data from Student Class data will populate in the tool in May. This tool will assist district staff and principals in verifying the accuracy of the data submitted in Student Record and Student Class before the data collections close. The accuracy of such data is critical to accurate accountability reporting.

View the user guide at your convenience.The user guide, training webinar, and webinar PPT handout for this tool are also available for download on the MyGaDOE portal.

To access the Live Data Verification tool, log on to the MyGaDOE portal, click on the CCRPI link, and then choose Live Data Verification. For help accessing the portal and with any functionality issues, contact the GaDOE Information Systems Customer Support Center at 1-800-869-1011 or Contact the GaDOE accountability specialist assigned to assist your district with questions regarding the data.
Funding & Professional Development Opportunities
Georgia Charter Virtual School Conference
Registration is open for the 18th Annual Georgia Charter Schools Conference". From Thursday, June 3, to Saturday, June 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register Here
PLEASE NOTE: The SCSC is providing one *FREE* 3-day conference pass for every state charter school. To receive your pass, SCSC authorized schools should contact Rahel Kaltiso at or 470-236-0527.

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. 
Job Opportunities
State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia

The SCSC is seeking candidates for an Associate General Counsel and Business Manager & Program Coordinator to join our team. Click the links to read more and apply.
Send all application materials to

Georgia Charter Schools Association

GCSA is seeking candidates for a Director of Grassroots Advocacy.
State Charter Schools Commission |
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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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