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Evans High fails to make AYP because of graduation rate

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 2:19 PM
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 12:13 PM
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Evans High School failed to make “adequate yearly progress” last school year, according to results released Wednesday by state education officials, despite pronouncements after summer school that Evans would make the grade.

The school’s 83.9 percent graduation rate in the 2010-11 school year fell short of the 85 percent minimum needed to make AYP as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Earlier this year, school officials said Evans High needed just nine more students to graduate during summer school to meet the minimum requirement.

Principal Don Brigdon seemed confident that enough students reached that goal during a summer school graduation ceremony in July. A phone message left for Brigdon wasn’t immediately returned Wednesday.

Two Columbia County middle schools made AYP after initially failing to do so.

Enough pupils at Grovetown and Harlem middle schools passed summer retakes of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test to meet progress standards.

In Richmond County, seven schools made AYP after initially falling short: Bayvale, Goshen, Jamestown, Jenkins-White Charter, Lake Forest Hills, National Hills elementary and Morgan Road Middle schools.

Richmond County schools spokesman Louis Svehla said the district, which saw 25 of its 55 schools make AYP in 2010-11, had a few near misses. For example, Cross Creek High School found itself in a similar situation to Evans High. The only indicator on which Cross Creek missed was graduation rate, at 82.6 percent.

McBean Elementary fell just short by having 15.1 percent of its pupils absent more than 15 days last school year. The state requirement is no more than 15 percent absent more than 15 days in a school year.

The state Department of Education uses scores on such standardized exams as the CRCT and End of Course Test to help determine AYP. On those tests, pupil populations are broken down into subcategories, including race, disabilities and socioeconomic status.

If a large enough group in any subcategory fails to meet the minimum standards set by the state on those tests, then the entire school is deemed not to have made AYP.

As a second consideration, elementary and middle schools must meet minimum requirements on attendance rates, and high schools must meet minimum graduation rates to make AYP.

The graduation rate measures the number of students graduating within four years of entering high school. The minimum standard for making AYP is a moving target, increasing until it reaches 100 percent of students in all measured subcategories meeting state standards by 2013-14 unless the federal law is changed before then.

In the 2009-10 school year, the minimum graduation rate to make AYP was 80 percent, which Evans High did with 82.8 percent. For 2011-12, it is set at 90 percent.

Because Evans High met the graduation rate requirements last school year, it faces no state penalties. Should it miss the target again this year, the school would be listed as Needs Improvement and face such sanctions as allowing students to transfer to a higher-performing school.

However, that might not remain a concern.

State Superintendent John Barge earlier this year applied for relief from the AYP standard in Georgia. There has not yet been an answer to that application.

Staff Writer Jason Wermers contributed to this article.


These schools made “adequate yearly progress” based on enough students passing summer retakes of Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests after falling short in the preliminary ratings, which did not account for the retakes:


  • Grovetown Middle
  • Harlem Middle


  • Bayvale Elementary
  • Goshen Elementary
  • Jamestown Elementary
  • Jenkins-White Charter Elementary
  • Lake Forest Hills Elementary
  • Morgan Road Middle
  • National Hills Elementary

Here is a look at how schools in Richmond and Columbia counties fared on the final “adequate yearly progress” report for the 2010-11 school year, released Wednesday by the Georgia Department of Education:


  • Bel Air Elementary: Yes
  • Blue Ridge Elementary: Yes
  • Brookwood Elementary: Yes
  • Cedar Ridge Elementary: Yes
  • Columbia Middle: Yes
  • Euchee Creek Elementary: Yes
  • Evans Elementary: Yes
  • Evans High: No
  • Evans Middle: Yes
  • Greenbrier Elementary: Yes
  • Greenbrier High: Yes
  • Greenbrier Middle: Yes
  • Grovetown Elementary: Yes
  • Grovetown High: Yes
  • *Grovetown Middle: Yes
  • Harlem High: Yes
  • *Harlem Middle: Yes
  • Lakeside High: Yes
  • Lakeside Middle: Yes
  • Lewiston Elementary: Yes
  • Martinez Elementary: Yes
  • North Columbia Elementary: Yes
  • North Harlem Elementary: Yes
  • River Ridge Elementary: Yes
  • Riverside Elementary: Yes
  • Riverside Middle: Yes
  • South Columbia Elementary: Yes
  • Stallings Island Middle: Yes
  • Stevens Creek Elementary: Yes
  • Westmont Elementary: Yes


  • Academy of Richmond County: No
  • Barton Chapel Elementary: No
  • *Bayvale Elementary: Yes
  • Blythe Elementary: Yes
  • Butler High: No
  • Collins Elementary: No
  • Copeland Elementary: Yes
  • Craig-Houghton Elementary: No
  • Cross Creek High: No
  • Davidson Magnet: Yes
  • Deer Chase Elementary: Yes
  • Diamond Lakes Elementary: No
  • Freedom Park Elementary: Yes
  • Garrett Elementary: Yes
  • Glenn Hills Elementary: No
  • Glenn Hills High: No
  • Glenn Hills Middle: No
  • *Goshen Elementary: Yes
  • Gracewood Elementary: No
  • Hains Elementary: No
  • Hephzibah Elementary: Yes
  • Hephzibah High: No
  • Hephzibah Middle: Yes
  • *Jamestown Elementary: Yes
  • *Jenkins-White Elementary: Yes
  • Johnson Magnet: Yes
  • Josey High: No
  • *Lake Forest Hills Elementary: Yes
  • Lamar-Milledge Elementary: Yes
  • Laney High: No
  • Langford Middle: No
  • McBean Elementary: No
  • Meadowbrook Elementary: No
  • Merry Elementary: Yes
  • Monte Sano Elementary: Yes
  • *Morgan Road Middle: Yes
  • Murphey Middle: No
  • *National Hills Elementary: Yes
  • Pine Hill Middle: No
  • Rollins Elementary: Yes
  • Sego Middle: No
  • Southside Elementary: No
  • Spirit Creek Middle: No
  • Sue Reynolds Elementary: Yes
  • Terrace Manor Elementary: No
  • Tobacco Road Elementary: No
  • Tutt Middle: No
  • W.S. Hornsby K-8: No
  • Walker Traditional: Yes
  • Warren Road Elementary: Yes
  • Westside High: No
  • Wheeless Road Elementary: Yes
  • Wilkinson Gardens Elementary: No
  • Willis Foreman Elementary: Yes
  • Windsor Spring Elementary: No

*School did not make preliminary AYP

Comments (15) Add comment
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Chillen 11/02/11 - 03:26 pm


SCY385 11/02/11 - 03:30 pm
According to my daughter

According to my daughter what's killing them is this 'new math' thing they have going. She says the way they are teaching it is totally incomprehensible. She says that if it were taught differently the kids might understand it better, but the way they are doing it now its just not working. She has been on the honor roll most of her school career and she is having trouble understanding it.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 03:33 pm
90 percent graduation rate

90 percent graduation rate for a conventional (non-magnet) public high school is unrealistic.

If you want a high graduation rate, you've got to lower the academic rigor of the curriculum.

If you want high academic standards, you've got to lower the graduation rate target.

You cannot achieve both goals when the goals are at odds with each other.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 03:35 pm
"New Math" has been the

"New Math" has been the scapegoat since the 1960s, at least.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 11/02/11 - 03:38 pm
From the article: State

From the article:

State Superintendent John Barge earlier this year applied for relief from the graduation rate standard in Georgia. There has not yet been an answer to that application.

This is what is known as “success by waiver.” You will begin to see more of it in No Child Left Behind, in Obamacare, in new environmental regulations, in new banking regulations. It's the wave of the future.

kiwiinamerica 11/02/11 - 03:57 pm
Why should there be an 85%

Why should there be an 85% graduation rate target? Graduation rate targets need to be tossed out the window because they are one of the main contributing factors to the dumbing down of public education. In order to meet the "target", all sorts of shenanigans occur, most of them essentially fraudulent. Kids are given extra credit for routine tasks such as doing homework and sometimes for things which are entirely trivial and unrelated to academic ability.

If everyone graduates from high school, you know something is badly wrong because there will always be a certain cohort of kids who have either no aptitude or no interest (and sometimes both) in academic pursuits. Punching their tickets renders high school graduation meaningless and cheapens the achievements of the best and the brightest.

I want to see the bar set high and for high school graduation to mean something. If that means that only 50% of kids make it, so be it. That's the way of the world. Ten people apply for a job, only one is successful.

Education should not be like pee-wee T-ball where everyone gets a prize.

bailmeout4 11/02/11 - 04:07 pm
I graduated from EHS over 10

I graduated from EHS over 10 years ago. They only offered 2 AP classes at the time. There were a group of us that wanted more and petitioned the school to add more AP classes. That year we got 4 more AP classes offered and we all did well on the exams, thanks to the motivated teachers. What that meant was an extra 2 hrs of school work a night. I received a years worth of college credit and graduated from UGA in 3 years. 10 of us out of that class are doctors. The rest are engineers and lawyers.

98% of students at that school and any other high school for that matter do the bare minimum (as exemplified by the question many students ask "How many words does this essay have to be?"). Until students have an intrinsic sense of motivation, you wont solve anything. This has to come from their parents. No amount of regulation or govt mandate will help.

class1 11/02/11 - 04:13 pm
Now that the state graduation

Now that the state graduation test have gone away, Evans should have no problems meeting the standards. By the way, all high schools graduation rates in both Columbia and Richmond Counties will go up in the next few years. Then the Chronicle can publish a headline about how the graduation rates have improved so much in both counties. Well, the answer will be the elimination of the graduation test, but the public won't realize this is the reason.

Donnie Fetter
Donnie Fetter 11/02/11 - 04:43 pm
@class1: While it is true the

@class1: While it is true the the GHSGT is going away, high school students will have to pass the EOCT to receive diplomas. Also, they still will have to pass a writing exam.

Dixieman 11/02/11 - 07:49 pm
Government schools = child

Government schools = child abuse. Do whatever - whatever! - it takes to get your kids into private school and keep them there.

12barblues 11/02/11 - 10:02 pm
Greenbrier probably won't

Greenbrier probably won't make it next year. Their graduation rate will need to be around 90%. Thank goodness NCLB will be gone soon. It's horrible legislation.

double_standard 11/02/11 - 11:53 pm
No Child Left Behind a Bush

No Child Left Behind a Bush initiative carried on through this administration which to this point is the largest spending bill ever.

kshultz 11/03/11 - 12:57 am
I just graduated from Evans

I just graduated from Evans this past May. I do know that the new math program is really hurting a lot of students but that is county wide. There are a lot of AP and 'advanced' classes available to encourage deeper learning. The real problem is that some students just don't care and have no interest in school. Most teachers at Evans are fair in giving out grades and are willing to assist any student who is in need of help and puts forth the effort.

avidreader 11/03/11 - 05:50 am
It's quirky that this news

It's quirky that this news story is accompanied by an article about Augusta's poverty rate. I am not implying that children suffering from poverty are stupid or unwilling. However, there is a direct correlation to poverty and academic success. A child's education must be nurtured in the home, as well as in the school, and when a mother of three is scrambling simply to survive, there's not much time left to participate in the kids' study habits.

And yes, there are exceptions to my comment. I am aware that all children have the ability to focus on their academic needs, but it sure is tough for many of them when mom is detached from the commitment. Every teacher in Richmond County can attest to the problem. But overall, I will say that the kids who remain focused on their studies are getting a well-balanced education from quality teachers.

Also, there's not enough space on this page to tackle the topic of absenteeism.

Chad 11/03/11 - 10:52 am
The math program is tougher.

The math program is tougher. The student's barely have time to drink from the fire hose, prior to moving on to the next level. I fully agree that they need to know this math but slow it down just a bit. 6th grade students are doing pre-algabra before the truley understand the basics. My daughter just spent 2 weeks working basic trig she can do it but does not understand how or why it work just knows the fomulas and how to plug that information into the caluclator. It is no wonder that many high school students can not even make change or balance a check book.

cusinga 11/04/11 - 09:46 pm
I agree with kshultz above.

I agree with kshultz above. Evans is not a bad school and the teachers do care, but the students are not motivated. Parents have more influence on their own children than teachers. Parents need to lend these teachers a helping hand and motivate your children to perform in school.

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