The Richmond County School System is one step closer to having multiple schools removed from the threat of the First Priority Act, which would give the state control over persistently failing schools under the direction of a Chief Turnaround Officer.
The 2017 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) scores were released Thursday with 48 of 60 Richmond County schools showing improvement. CCRPI scores measure post-graduate readiness based on achievement, progress, achievement gap and challenge points on a scale from zero to 100 with a possibility of 10 extra points. With bonus points, Davidson Magnet School received a 103.4.
Richmond County Superintendent Dr. Angela Pringle wants to look beyond the score aspect of the CCRPI.
“I think we are really beginning to see the results of the things we have put in place to see student achievement,” Pringle said. “Everyone has a sense of urgency on student achievement and realize that we’ve been given a charge to improve student achievement.”
Two weeks ago, Georgia Department of Education hired its first CTO, Dr. Eric Thomas, who will decide which of the state’s bottom five percent of schools, also known as the priority list, will receive intervention with “turnaround coaches.” They would work with the schools’ teachers, parents, administration and school board. Thomas begins his new role Nov. 16.
Last year, Butler High, Glenn Hills High, Laney High, Josey High, Hornsby Middle, Meadowbrook Elementary and Jenkins-White Elementary were placed on the state’s priority list. All priority schools except Laney saw an increase of 10 or more points. Josey received a 15.5-point increase and Glenn Hills saw a 16.5-point increase.
Pringle invited Thomas to visit the school system and welcomes his input on the schools.
“When you are working on behalf of children and you want all children to succeed, you put your ego aside and you listen to the advice of others,” Pringle said.
Other significant CCRPI increases came from Garrett Elementary (19.2 ), Tobacco Road Elementary (16.4 ), Morgan Road Middle (15.1 ) and Goshen Elementary (15 ). And while scores have previously dipped and risen over the last three years, the large increases indicate that teachers are finding their stride, Pringle said.
“They really understand what has to be taught to children,” she said. “They understand how to intervene.”
Dr. Shontier Barnes, principal of Morgan Road Middle, credits streamlining teacher’s planning and knowing students’ information to make proper interventions. Teachers also used Positive Behavior Intervention and Systems to establish the school culture and let students know what was expected of them.
“Everyone has worked really hard and that hard work has paid off,” Barnes said.
For the 12 schools that did not see increases, Pringle said the school system is considering assigning social workers and rewriting school improvement plans. Blythe Elementary was the only school whose score decreased more than five points.