Updated results show more making progress

Richmond County has demonstrated that schoolchildren can perform in spite of the challenges associated with a high-poverty environment, Superintendent Dana Bedden said Tuesday.

 

Twelve additional schools were announced as making adequate yearly progress, according to updated results released by the Georgia Department of Education. Adequate yearly progress is the annual federal measure of school performance under No Child Left Behind legislation.

Tuesday's results reflect the improved performance pupils made on retakes of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, summer school graduates and school appeals.

This is the first year the federal government has allowed retest results to be factored in, state department spokesman Dana Tofig said. The new results, however, won't affect the consequences for schools that have failed to make progress.

In July, 29 of Richmond County's 57 schools made adequate yearly progress, but the latest results now show 41 met the standard.

The improvement is particularly significant because the bar for making adequate yearly progress was raised and most of the children in Richmond County schools are considered low income, Dr. Bedden said during a news conference.

"The results indicate that there can be successes in spite of socioeconomic challenges, and that our children can learn and will learn and will be successful if given the appropriate opportunities, if given the appropriate resources and the appropriate time to work on the work they need to be successful in," the superintendent said.

Tuesday's numbers show 71.9 percent of schools made adequate yearly progress, an improvement on last year's 70.2 percent, but Dr. Bedden warned against judging a school solely on making the benchmark. A school must meet every measure for every category of pupil to meet the standard.

"I think it's important to note that as we continue to judge and talk about education in Richmond County, that we not only look at the AYP status but that we also consider the academic measures that these schools are asked to meet," he said.

Richmond County met 826 of its 881 measures, he said.

"What it says is that we've still got work to do, but the sky is not falling," Dr. Bedden said.

The retest results had no affect on the adequate yearly progress status of any Columbia County school, but they did affect the system as a whole.

Columbia County improved as a school system in its math scores for pupils with disabilities. The score improved enough to help the system meet adequate yearly progress standards in that category.

Statewide, the updated results showed 241 schools made adequate yearly progress that hadn't initially.

The state also recorded its highest graduation rate since the number has been calculated, Mr. Tofig said.

The rate increased by more than three points to 75.4 percent for 2008.

Columbia County Bureau Chief Donnie Fetter contributed to this story.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

MEETING THE MARK

New schools making adequate yearly progress Tuesday:

- Barton Chapel Elementary

- Bayvale Elementary

- Blythe Elementary

- East Augusta Middle

- Meadowbrook Elementary

- National Hills Elementary

- Rollins Elementary

- Sego Middle

- Sue Reynolds Elementary

- Tobacco Road Elementary

- Wilkinson Gardens Elementary

- Windsor Spring Elementary


CHANGE IN STATUS

Now off needs improvement list (made adequate yearly progress two years in a row)

- East Augusta Middle

- Sego Middle


Source: Georgia Department of Education


UPDATED GRADUATION RATES

SCHOOL20072008
Academy of Richmond County65.1%65.4%
A.R. Johnson Health Science98.8%100%
and Engineering Magnet High School
Butler High School62.4%60.4%
Cross Creek High School60.8%69.2%
John S. Davidson100%100%
Fine Arts Magnet School
Glenn Hills High School77.5%59.9%
Hephzibah High School65.2%66.3%
T.W. Josey High School57.8%46.2%
Lucy C. Laney High School45.7%30.9%
Westside High School71.2%70.8%

Source: Georgia Department of Education