Thanks Bus Trip 20 Schools!

Trip One

World Language Academy - Flowery Branch (Hall County Schools)

Westside Middle School - Winder (Barrow County Schools)

Barrow Elementary School - Athens (Clarke County Schools)

Gwinnett Technical College - Lawrenceville (Technical College System of Georgia)

Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology - Conyers (Rockdale County Schools)

Trip Two

Marietta Center for Advanced Academics - Marietta (Marietta City Schools)

Loganville High School - Loganville (Walton County Schools)

Kelly Mill Elementary School - Cumming (Forsyth County Schools)

South Forsyth High School - Cumming (Forsyth County Schools)

Lanier Technical College - Oakwood (Technical College System of Georgia)


What They Said

We would like to specifically thank the principals and their teams at each of the K-12 schools that we visited and the presidents of our technical college stops.  Hosting the visits is never easy considering the logisitcs involved for a two-hour visit but the participants are often overwhelmed at what they see (See "Reflections" on right side).

But what is the perspective of the visited school?  Are they proud to have the "Bus Stopped Here" designation?  What is the value to them?  Let some of them tell you:

David Moody
World Language Academy

We were honored to have your tour visit.  It is exciting to be part of a school system that focuses on educating students to be prepared for the 21st century. Language and culture certainly are a big part of this. 

Valorie Rolader
Westside Middle School

Westside was honored to showcase excellent teaching and engaged, student-directed learning.  It was a distinct privilege to be chosen for the 20th anniversary tour of the Bus Trip Across Georgia.  We are proudly and "BOLDLY COMMITTED TO STUDENT SUCCESS."
Westside Teacher Jennie Persinger (Media Specialist):  One of the best things we have done to bring our school together!
Westside Receptionist Wanda Doster:  I was amazed at the coordination of the faculty and the students on the many days of planning and preparation for the Bus Trip.  The arrival of the buses that morning was a site to behold with all of the banners and the cheers from the cheerleaders and the upbeat music from the band members!  Even though my role was very insignificant in the event, my pride as a Westside Husky was at the top!

Ellen Sabatini
David C. Barrow Elementary School 

It was extremely rewarding for us to be featured on this year's Bus Trip.  We really didn't know what to expect, but we were ready for anything!  The visitors were so kind and interested in the things we were doing with technology integration in our classrooms.  We felt proud that we had something positive to share with others about education in Georgia!

Mary Ann Suddeth
Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology

Thank you for including us in this year's tour.  It was truly an honor to be selected as one of your stops, and we hope to have the opportunity to collaborate with GPEE again in the near future.  Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology appreciates the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education sharing positive news about public schools and highlighting student achievement in Georgia!

Jennifer Hernandez
Marietta Center for Advanced Academics

Marietta Center for Advanced Academics was honored to be a highlighted school on the GPEE bus tour.  Our school community understands the importance of sharing best practice in education and making connections to enhance the course offerings available to students. 

We enjoyed the opportunity to share the innovative way we have incorporated STEM education into our curriculum with the hopes that other students across the state may be exposed to STEM and the 21st century skills of collaboration, communication, critical, and creative thinking. 

We have already been in touch with a rider on the tour, and MCAA students will be working with her students in Uganda on community based STEM initiatives.  The GPEE bus tour is a fabulous way to showcase best practice and spread it across our great state.

Mike Robinson
Loganville High School

Being a host for the GPEE Bus Tour has been an honor and a privilege for a variety of reasons.  The tour has given us a chance to share our great school with educators and business representatives from around the state.  The LHS faculty and staff are second to none, and we are proud and eager to share our beliefs and enthusiasm for education with others.  The Bus Tour was also the perfect opportunity to allow our Leader Next students to work in leadership situations to guide the Bus Tour participants around the school.  I want to thank the GPEE Bus Tour for selecting LHS as a stop.  It has been a great experience for our students and staff.

Ron McAllister
Kelly Mill Elementary School

We were truly honored to be one of the stops on the Bus Tour.  Many of the comments that were shared by my staff members were that it was a fun event, and they really enjoyed it.  We love learning from and with others.

Jeff Chaney
South Forsyth High School

We considered it an honor to be a part of the 20th anniversary Bus Tour.  We were extremely excited to share our use of technology as well as our outstanding programs and exceptional students with other educators and community members throughout the state.  South Forsyth H.S. enjoyed the opportunity to engage in dialogue and hear ideas from other school districts as we continue to strive to be at the forefront of creating pathways for student success.

Special thank-yous

A highlight of the annual tours is often the evening event after the visits for the day have concluded. Local schools, communities, and/or organizations often graciously provide dinner and an informative program.

This year three organizations put out the red carpet and the Georgia Partnership is grateful. The Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach and the College of Education at the University of Georgia  hosted the October 22 dinner and explained how through many of their partnerships they are improving public education in the Athens community. AdvancEd presented the program October 29 at their headquarters in Alpharetta. The staff provided trip participants an inside look at their online technology platform, ASSIST, that supports continuous improvement in teaching and learning. Here is a their press release.

20th Bus Trip Across Georgia

How Good Was It?

This unique event has gotten better through the years since that first trip in 1993.  To this day, many people can't wait to get on board to celebrate the great things our public schools are doing and to snare (and share) the many best practices they experience along the way.  Does the annual Bus Trip Across Georgia have impact?  From the many participant comments (below) we receive after each trip and the notes from our visited schools (left side), definitely.  Resolve now to join us on Bus Trip 21, coming Fall 2013!

Headlines Along the Way:

Georgia Public Broadcasting - Southern Education Desk - GPEE Annual Bus Trip Across Georgia
Gainesville Times - Education Tour Visits World Language Academy
Athens Banner-Herald - Barrow Elementary in Spotlight as Education Tour Rolls Through Athens
Rockdale Citizen - Bus Trip Makes Stop at Magnet School
Gainesville Times - Lanier Tech Tour Touts Technology
Forsyth News - Schools Honored for Technology
Walton Tribune - Bus Tour Brings State Leaders to Loganville


After each stop, we ask our participants to immediately record their reflections.  What was good?  Not so good? What lessons did they learn?  What are they taking home that might them, their schools or school systems better?  The responses are interesting and informative.

Sharing is what the annual Bus Trip Across Georgia is all about... read on!

World Language Academy, Flowery Branch, Hall County Schools

In the modern world, nothing matters more than communication and understanding.  WLA is amazing for its achievements in both.  Not only is it creating a generation of bilingual students able to cut across language barriers, it is also creating a generation of students who are well-spoken, not afraid to communicate, and versed in cultural understanding.  Truly outstanding! (See photos)

Westside Middle School, Winder, Barrow County Schools

This school was amazing!  I came away wanting to know how I can go about getting such a grant and establishing the kind of resources (eg - Australian astrophysicist that they use.  Who do I call? ...  Wow!  Those kids were amazing!  The music class was incredible.  The iPad usage was efficient and the kids were completely engaged but not distracted.  This school was an incredible visit! (See photos)

Barrow Elementary School, Athens, Clarke County Schools

This was my favorite visit so far.  I was amazed that all of the students were actively learning and putting to use various programs and applications for projects and daily classroom tasks.  I was very impressed with students using and working together on Google documents, animations, etc.  Students were engaged in learning... I was very proud of the way they incorporated technology even under only a one year process of being on this campus.  By allowing 2nd graders to use Netbooks and kindergarten classes to use laptops, showed me that students can achieve anything and technology can help! (See photos)

Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology, Conyers, Rockdale County Schools

Wow!  The research conducted by the students is breathtaking! The students were veryengaged and used the technology to fully understand the concepts being taught.  The expectations of excellence are truly displayed and enable the students to be sucessful... Hearing a junior student explain to me how he wishes to go to college and get a major in architecture and a minor in musical instrumentation to be able to design a concert hall where anyone inside can hear the music the same way blew me away! (See photos)

Marietta Center for Advanced Academics, Marietta, Marietta City Schools

The kids were extremely engaged and very well spoken.  The teachers seemed very passionate and organized.  I was especially impressed with the use of community partnerships...  This school was incredible! It was a true example of setting high expectations, giving students valuable tools and experiences, and watching the children rise up to the occasion. (See photos)

Loganville High School, Loganville, Walton County

I was really impressed with Loganville H.S. and all of their extracurricular classes, as well as AP classes.  I look forward to more great results from them in the future... The school is fairly new to integrating technology into the classrooms.  The school is still overall a great school.  With time and dedication, this school will exceed their goals. (See photos)

Kelly Mill Elementary School, Cumming, Forsyth County Schools

I want to work there!  There was so much engagement and organized chaos with the technology.  The teachers and students were both excited... This is a phenomenal school!  As a technology lover, it is such a dream to see students using technology to learn.  I love how the learning is still the focus and the technology is simply a strategy used. (See photos)

South Forsyth High School, Cumming, Forsyth County Schools

In the variety of classes, there was an obvious intent to reach and actively engage all students.  Technology was just a way to do that... Very impressive!  Seems all students found their place in this school.  Probably one of the most important things a high school can do is connect with its students.  Lots of school pride! (See photos)

Technical College System of Georgia

A trademark of the Bus Trip Across Georgia is the variety of schools and education programs displayed to participants.  This year, two technical colleges were stops:
Gwinnett Technical College:  This was an eye-opening experience.  I was amazed to see the technology that is available for students today.  It made me feel very encouraged about the future of the job market and how competitive students from Georgia can be.  It showed me how many options will be available to my students when they graduate and that was very exciting. (See photos)

Lanier Technical College:  With this kind of post high school option, why are we still programming ourselves to expect college for everyone? (See photos)

Overall Reflections/Evaluations

So, how was the overall excperience?  Was the time required a good investment?  Would riders do it again?  Would they recommend others apply for a seat?  Here's what Bus trip 20 participants had to say:

I loved this trip!  This opened my eyes to what schools can look like if best practices are put into place.  I'm leaving with many take-aways that I can't wait to implement! It was great to see a variety of schools that are making an extraordinary difference in students' lives.  I had a blast!

Trip One (October 22-23)...        (See photos)

Trip Two (October 29-30)...        (See photos)