Thursday, March 24, 2011

Congressman John Lewis to Receive the 2011 Louis E. Martin Great American Award from Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

/PRNewswire/ -- The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has announced that it will honor U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA) with the 2011 Louis E. Martin Great American Award at its Annual Dinner on May 3 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington.

Congressman Lewis will be recognized for more than 50 years of active service to the cause of human rights, civil liberties and the strengthening of the American community.

The award, named after the legendary journalist, presidential advisor and co-founder of the Joint Center, honors an individual who exemplifies Louis Martin's passion for justice, compassion and the bridging of racial and ethnic divides. Previous award recipients include former Presidents Jimmy Carter and William J. Clinton, Congressmen James E. Clyburn and Charles B. Rangel, Muhammad Ali, lawyer and civil rights leader Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., the late civil rights activist Dr. Dorothy I. Height, and the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

A member of the U.S. Congress for nearly a quarter-century, Congressman Lewis first came to national attention as one of the top figures in the civil rights movement, as well as an architect of and keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington. He has served in the House leadership as Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party since 1991 and has been a leading voice on a wide range of domestic and international issues. He has been referred to as "the conscience of the U.S. Congress" and "a genuine American hero and moral leader."

In announcing the selection, Joint Center President and CEO Ralph B. Everett cited Congressman Lewis' legendary courage and leadership in the struggle for full voting rights. "His refusal to flinch in the face of extreme adversity left an indelible mark on our history, and sent an unforgettable message to the world on the intrinsic value of the right to vote and the scope of sacrifice that is often necessary to secure it," he said.

"Today, Congressman Lewis continues to lead by example, working for racial harmony and to inspire all Americans to make the most of their right to engage in the nation's political and civic affairs," he added.

"Congressman Lewis fits well into the pantheon of leaders whom the Joint Center has recognized over the years with this high honor," said Roderick D. Gillum, Chair of the Joint Center's Board of Governors. "Few people in history have contributed more to helping America live up to its cherished ideals, and the difference he has made throughout his career is something that all of us can see and feel in our everyday lives."

Hosted by the Joint Center each year for more than a quarter century and with this year's theme of Forward Together – Engaging Our Future, the Annual Dinner is the organization's major fundraising event of the year and provides an opportunity for a broad range of elected officials, business, civic and community leaders from across the country to celebrate the success of the Joint Center and its impact on the lives of all Americans.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

UGA education researchers receive national award for developing measurement of math problem-solving skills

A team of University of Georgia education researchers has received a national award for the development of a statistical method for measuring the growth of students’ problem-solving skills in mathematics. This new method enables researchers to simultaneously measure both the different ways that students can reason about individual questions on a mathematics test and their overall growth in mathematics ability.

The researchers were named recipients of the 2011 Award for an Outstanding Example of an Application of Educational Measurement Technology to a Specific Problem from the National Council on Measurement in Education.

The team included UGA College of Education professors Allan Cohen, director of the Georgia Center for Assessment, and Seock-Ho Kim; lead author Sun-Joo Cho, a UGA doctoral graduateand assistant professor of educational psychology at Vanderbilt University; and Brian A. Bottge, the William T. Bryan Endowed Chair in Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Kentucky.

Current methods for detecting growth of students’ skills in math by score-level analysis may fail to reflect subtle changes that might be evident at the item level, said Cohen.This new method combines an analysis of individual performance on each test question, coupled with methods that provide a deeper analysis of the differences in reasoning that students use to answer each test question.

The team published two articles in 2010 describing how item-level changes could be measured using data from a multiwave experiment with a teaching method called Enhanced Anchored Instruction. EAI is a method specially designed for developing the math skills of low-achieving adolescents, including students with learning disabilities in math.

One article, “Latent Transition Analysis with a Mixture Item Response Theory Measurement Model,” appeared in the journal, Applied Psychological Measurement. A second article, “Detecting Cognitive Change in the Math Skills of Low-Achieving Adolescents,” was published in the Journal of Special Education.

The award will be presented to Cohen and his group at the NCME’s annual conference in April in New Orleans.

For more information on the UGA College of Education see http://www.coe.uga.edu/.


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dalton Driver Examiner Honored for Customer Service

Receives Examiner of the Year Award from National Organization

The Department of Driver Services (DDS) announced today that Mary Dillard, a Dalton native, has been named Georgia’s Examiner of the Year by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

Mary is a manager in the Dalton, Whitfield County, Customer Service Center (CSC) and has been serving customers there for over 21 years. She was selected for her excellence in adhering to the principles and recommended practices of driver examining and for a high level of conduct in her profession.

“I proudly commend Mary for receiving this award. It is fitting that she should be honored for serving the citizens of the State while upholding and demonstrating the highest standard of dedication to customer service,” said DDS Commissioner Gregory C. Dozier. “It is apparent to all who know her that she loves caring for people and helping others,” he added.

Mary began her state service at the Dalton center as a driver examiner on June 30th, 1990. DDS driver examiners are responsible for all driver’s license issuance procedures and regulations including receiving applications for and issuing Georgia driver's licenses. After several promotions, Mary has been managing the Dalton office since November 1st, 2009. As a center manager, Mary is responsible for the daily operation of the center. DDS District Manager Sheila Miracle has worked with Mary for a number of years and commented, “Mary is always willing to help whenever she is needed. She regularly sacrifices personal time to ensure that the Dalton center is operating smoothly and is in tip top shape!”

Miracle joined with the other DDS center managers in the Dalton area to nominate Mary for promoting the DDS core values of Communication, Accountability, Respect and Ethics (CARE). Mary works diligently and professionally to ensure that each customer feels valued. She frequently assists special needs customers with patience and compassion.

Mary has lived in Dalton all her life. She is very active at Liberty Baptist Church, where she is a church matron. Mary, her brother and sister all spend time caring for their 89 year old mother, Emma Barksdale. In her spare time, she loves to cook and read books.

Georgia Lake Sturgeon Restoration Project Receives National Recognition

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division is one of four states recently recognized by the American Fisheries Society’s Fisheries Administrator’s Section for their efforts to provide the public with quality fishing opportunities and aquatic education programs. Other state agencies recognized include the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

“We had some excellent projects submitted for consideration this year and it is clear that state agencies are responding to both the needs of the anglers and the fish with Sport Fish Restoration Program funds” said Doug Nygren, president-elect of the American Fisheries Society’s Fisheries Administrators Section and the chief of fisheries for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.    

The Fisheries Administrator’s Section annually recognizes outstanding fisheries conservation projects and programs that are funded from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration program, commonly known as the Wallop- Breaux or Dingell-Johnson grant program. The projects receiving recognition were selected from a score of outstanding proposals submitted from several state fisheries agencies.

Georgia received the “2010 Outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Access Award- Lake Sturgeon Reintroduction in Georgia.” This project benefits anglers in Georgia and Alabama with its far sighted and far reaching efforts to re-establish lake sturgeon in the Coosa River system.   

Historically, the Coosa River supported a population of this prehistoric looking game species. However, none have been documented since about 1970. While the exact cause of the decline of this species in Georgia is not known, biologists believe that intense stocking efforts will result in a self-sustaining population in the future.   Lake sturgeon eggs are provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Warm Springs Hatchery in Georgia. Sturgeons have a slow growth rate, so biologists do not expect to allow anglers to harvest any fish until 2027. In addition to stocking, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has also implemented an aggressive outreach effort to involve local school children with the project. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sport Fish Restoration Program has provided more than $6 billion to state fisheries agencies since the program’s inception in 1950. The program provides critical funding to state agencies for their fisheries conservation and management programs. Additional information on this program can be found at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SFR/SFR.htm. 

The American Fisheries Society is the nation’s leading organization of professional fisheries scientists. Its membership includes fisheries scientists from all 50 states as well as international members. 

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Georgia Youth Named National Epilepsy Spokesperson

/PRNewswire/ -- Marie Mayhan, 12, of Lilburn, Ga., will travel to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness about epilepsy and how it affects the life of a child who experiences seizures. Mayhan will participate in the Epilepsy Foundation's annual Kids Speak Up! event from March 27 through March 29, and become a part of the democratic process to make a difference for the nearly 3 million people coping with the disorder.

Kids Speak Up! is a national program that rallies young ambassadors with epilepsy between the ages of 8 and 18 to become advocates in their local communities and in the nation's capital. Their mission is to personally petition congressional leaders for aid in assuring better access to care, improved public education and awareness about epilepsy and more research toward a cure.

As one of 45 Kids Speak Up! spokespersons, Mayhan will participate in a three-day training to learn more about epilepsy, develop her public speaking skills, and learn the importance of advocacy. The highlight of the trip will be a meeting with her state representative.

"Children like Marie who experience seizures are often treated differently in their community and feel shunned by their peers," said Rich Denness, president and CEO of the Epilepsy Foundation. "Kids Speak Up! is vital because it connects youth who share the same dreams and face the same challenges, and it empowers the leaders of tomorrow."

Epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in children. It affects more than 326, 000 children under the age of 15 and each year approximately 45,000 children under age 15 are diagnosed with the disorder.

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