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Clayton Schools to open Academic Gallery

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Officials from Clayton County Public Schools will open the doors of the system's main office complex this week, to allow the public to see the work students are doing on a daily basis.

Later this week, the school system is scheduled to unveil its new Academic Gallery, in which Georgia Performance Standards-based class work done by Clayton County students will be on display for the community to see.

"It's the work that happens all the time in the classroom," said Diana Carry, the school system's chief academic officer. "Everything starts with the standards. This is the performance-standard piece. It will show the students doing the work."

The school system will host an opening-night gala for the Academic Gallery on Thursday, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Clayton County Public Schools Central Administration Complex, which is located at 1058 Fifth Ave., in Jonesboro.

During the opening gala, the students whose work is on display will act as "docents," explaining to those in attendance what the subject matter of their work is, what academic standard it falls under, and how they did their work, according to Carry.

Each piece of class work will be accompanied by a picture of the student doing the work, a written explanation by the student of what the work is, and the grading rubric used by the students' teachers, Carry said.

"We're trying to show off all of our students' talents," Carry said. "We also want to reach out to our students, and celebrate them from now, until June."

Carry said there will be one bulletin board for every subject and school level. One board, for example, will be devoted solely to middle school language-arts work, while another will be devoted to elementary school math. The work displayed on the boards will be changed on a monthly basis, with the intention being to eventually have work representing all 60 schools in the district on display, she said.

By posting the school work in the Academic Gallery, Carry said district officials hope students will gain an understanding of the value of their class work. "When you put a student's work on display, you are showing that you value it," she said.

Clayton County Board of Education Chairperson Alieka Anderson, herself a teacher in DeKalb County schools, said it is more important to spotlight the work students do in class in an age where classrooms have become more hands-on. Students learn reading, writing and arithmetic these days by performing tasks in groups, she said.

"By putting their work on display, not only are we saying we value the work they do, we are also making them feel good about accomplishing the feats put before them," Anderson said.