Pre-Conference Workshops

Wednesday February 6, 2013
12:30 pm – 3:30 pm


More Than a Test Score

Presenter(s):   Dr. Melinda Strickland & Mrs. Kim Baker   

Floyd County Education Center,  Rome, GA


No matter what variety of educational program is used to motivate students the bottom line is knowing the people within the circle of influence are behind every effort the student faces. Our students are the future leaders, parents, workers and citizens of our society. While tests and accountability are very important; the outcome is far greater than basing achievement on individual performance on tests.

Information included in MORE THAN A TEST SCORE, derives from educators who empower students to take ownership in their educational journey by using a variety of strategies and programs to meet the needs of the students. The strategies target academic, behavioral and social components in education.  Each successful program has one common element that rises above anything else and that is the element called empowerment! Building relationships is one of the main keys to success in school and every endeavor faced by the youth of our society. Success stories are included to show how caring has made a difference with all those involved.

bakerDr. Melinda Strickland serves as the principal of the Floyd County Education Center that houses two separate programs. One is the punitive-based Transitional Academy and the other is the Performance Learning Center. Currently in her 30th year of education within the Floyd County School System, Dr. Strickland received her Ed.D. from Nova Southeastern University (FL), Ed.S. from Jacksonville State University (AL), M.Ed. from State University of West Georgia (GA), and B.S. from Berry College (GA). She has presented her passion for empowering students at several national, state and local conferences. Dr. Strickland is author of More Than a Test Score: Strategies for Empowering Youth at Risk, published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Maryland.

Mrs. Kim Baker is a middle school teacher at the Floyd County Education Center in Rome, Georgia.  She received her B.S. degree in Middle Grades Education with Early Childhood certification from Shorter University, and her M.Ed. in middle grades ELA/Science from Berry College.  She currently teaches middle school, all subject areas in the Transitional Academy of the Floyd County Education Center.  After teaching for a short time at St. Mary’s Catholic School, Mrs. Baker began teaching at Model Middle School in Rome, GA.  She taught computer applications for 5 years and 7th grade Life Science for one year.  While at the Floyd County Education Center, Mrs. Baker received Teacher of the Year in 2009 and 2012.  She was also named as one of the three finalists for the Floyd County Charter School System for 2013.


“Collaborating To Serve:  Making Connections for Students’ Success”

Dr. Ja’net Bishop, Principal of Columbia County Alternative School (Evans, Georgia), will introduce intervention resources provided by the alternative school which addresses character bishopdevelopment, community forums, substance sobriety, juvenile court collaboration, military affiliation, improving the graduation rate, and interaction with the local media.  In this informative session, Dr. Bishop will share Columbia County School System’s efforts to make a paradigm shift in regard to its alternative education school serving in a greater capacity beyond only suspended students.

Dr. Bishop will highlight the varied community collaborations that have been developed to serve students during a time of reduced funds, furloughs, and staff reductions.  For example, with budget cuts, the alternative school expanded its services with the Saving Our Seniors (S.O.S.) Program to improve the graduation rate of at-risk 5th year seniors.  The S.O.S. Program, a drop-out prevention initiative, was developed and facilitated in collaboration with the Graduation Coaches from the school system’s five high schools.  This has had a positive impact on drop-out prevention, parental support, and making a paradigm shift about alternative education in this community.

The evolving success of the alternative school is strengthened through strong community partnerships.  Through the years, a solid tapestry of interconnected programs, inter-agency referrals, resource sharing, and external expertise helps to support the needs of students.  The benefits of community collaboration are increased by the synergy between two shared interests; working towards a common goal and serving our alternative education students.



It’s A Family Affair

Presenter: Ms. Marissa Foster

fosterThis presentation spotlights a successful 9th grade Performance Learning Center (PLC) pilot-program created through a partnership with Communities in Schools (CIS) and Floyd County Schools in Rome, Georgia.  This “family model” program targets at-risk, over-aged, upcoming 9th graders and gives these students the opportunity to “catch-up” with their peers through a non-traditional, hands-on, computer-based classroom experience like no other.  The success of this unique, self-contained program and each of its students is attributed to the close knit familial bonds purposefully developed between the students and their teacher.

From the beginning of each school year, the class focuses on team-building and on each individual student developing a sense of accomplishment through creative, hands-on outdoor, service-learning projects around the school and community.

As students take ownership and pride in completed projects, they develop a sense of achievement which extends into their computer coursework enabling them to earn the high school credits necessary to “catch-up” with peers.  At the successful completion of each school year, students are given the choice to enter the traditional PLC Program or to return to their home high school as sophomores or juniors.

Marisa Foster is the 9th grade academy coordinator/teacher at the Floyd County Education Center’s Performance Learning Center (PLC).  In her 14 year career, Ms. Foster has been a physical education/strength and conditioning teacher both in Georgia and in Alabama in all grade-levels K-12.  In addition to her teaching duties, she has served as an Athletic Director, a School Improvement Team Chairperson, and as a coach of numerous boys and girls sports.  Ms. Foster has previously presented at the Health and Physical Education Conference for the State of Alabama.  Ms. Foster holds an S.Ed. in education, a M.Ed. in education and a B.S. in psychology/criminal justice all from Jacksonville State University in Alabama.


You Gotta Reach ‘em, In Order to Teach ‘em:

Re-defining Education for a New Generation

Presenter: Mr. Hotep Benzo

hotepA multi-media presentation that completely revolutionizes the way educators and students view school and education! This presentation destroys common misconceptions teachers and youth service providers have about education and how to get young people to perform their best. This workshop also demonstrates the most overlooked missing ingredients in “education”, and definitively explains why low-income students (especially boys) have the most difficult time in school. Most importantly though, this presentation provides SOLUTIONS! It shows how to shift students’ perception of school and illustrates its direct link to them achieving their wildest dreams!

Attendees will receive:
– A working RE-definition of education
– A new understanding of HOW and WHY students learn
– Strategies to motivate at-risk youth to WANT to learn
– Creative ideas for transforming the educational environment
– An easier way to enhance learning WITHOUT needing new materials
– Insight on the plight of low-income children

Educational Success Strategist and Congressional award-winning author, Hotep is widely known for his unique approach to teaching leadership, entrepreneurship and social/ financial ethics by inspiring a love for learning and motivating youth to think critically and act responsibly. He is a 15-year veteran master teacher that has developed a reputation for requesting the most troubled students and transforming them into willing participants in their own education. Hotep is the creator of the Outcome Progression Model and is also the founder of his own school, Hustle University, which teaches life skills and leadership through entrepreneurship.


How to Get Your Grant ON!!

Presenter(s):   Dr. Adrian Epps and Dr. Thomas Brown

epps brown
Everything you always wanted to know about grant writing and were too afraid to ask.  Learn how to apply for grants in today’s highly competitive market using creativity, passion and plenty of preparation.  While there are no magic formulas, short cuts, or sure-fire methods to follow when applying, there are specific steps you can take to improve your chances of success.

Come and “get your grant ON” and learn about our success in obtaining many educational grants that have been of great benefit to educators and students in the Atlanta metropolitan area.




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