The superintendent of the Richmond County School System held an hour-long public meeting Thursday to discuss results from the system’s 2016 annual report.
About 100 people attended the gathering at Cross Creek High School, including five school board members and more than 15 Richmond County principals. The board members on hand were Wayne Frazier, Helen Minchew, Patsy Scott, Marion Barnes and Jimmy Atkins.
“Before you call a child a failure, walk a mile in their shoes,” Dr. Angela Pringle told the gathering. “… I believe in this community.”
Pringle spent time addressing several topics while urging the community – mainly parents – to become more involved. Before the meeting, each person in attendance received a copy of the annual report and a card that stated, “We need you!”
On the back of the card, the audience members were asked to check an area in which they could provide assistance, including being a mentor or a partner with a school.
“We have to see more parents engaged in the education of children,” Pringle said.
She also addressed the results of the 2016 College and Career Ready Performance Index that showed average scores in Richmond County to be below state levels. In the county, all three grade levels – high school, middle and elementary – posted average scores below 60, which is deemed failing by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.
For high schools, Richmond County’s average index was 58.8, compared with a state average of 75.7. The local middle school average was 54.2 and the elementary average was 57.9. The Georgia average was 71.5 for middle schools and 71.7 for elementary level.
“This is a very complex score,” Pringle said of the CCRPI. “It’s more than just scrambled eggs. It’s more than that. It’s a lot that goes into that score.”
Twenty-four indicators go into the score. In 2016, CCRPI scores included four main components: achievement, progress, achievement gap and challenge points. These components are combined for a total score from 0 to 100, with a possibility of 10 additional points.
According to state measures, the number of chronically failing schools in Richmond County rose from 19 to 21 in 2016.
In Richmond County, three high schools – Butler, Glenn Hills and T.W. Josey – were on the list. There were five middle schools: Glenn Hills, Murphey, Morgan Road, Sego and Spirit Creek. The 13 elementary schools were Bayvale, Diamond Lakes, Glenn Hills, Hains, Hornsby, Jamestown, Jenkins-White Charter, Lamar-Milledge, Meadowbrook, Rollins, Terrace Manor, Wheeless Road and Wilkinson Gardens.
“The CCRPI score that everyone judges your school by is more than just passing a test,” Pringle said. “It takes everyone to understand that we have to work together to get to where we need to be.”
Another issue discussed was the high level of Richmond County students who are living in poverty. During her presentation, Pringle showed slides that compared a middle-class student to one living in poverty and showed how the education gap tends to grow with each grade level.
“We have so many students that live in impoverished situations, and it’s going to take everybody that doesn’t live in that situation to help,” Pringle said. “We cannot put our heads in the sand. … When we bring up everybody in this community, these children are going to soar.”
Reach Doug Stutsman at (706) 823-3341 or firstname.lastname@example.org.