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Glenn Hills, T.W. Josey high schools see more students graduate with help from federal grant

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With five months left before graduation day, Richmond County seniors at two high schools have a high standard to live up to.

After receiving more than $2 million in a School Improvement Grant since 2010 – federal money used to turn around failing schools – Glenn Hills and T.W. Josey high schools have steadily led more students to finish school.

Out of the 40 Georgia schools that receive the grants, Josey and Glenn Hills are two of seven schools that pushed their graduation rates to 80 percent or better. At 86.1 percent, Glenn Hills has the highest graduation rate of any school in Georgia that was a grant recipient.

In 2009, Josey finished with 62.6 percent and Glenn Hills had a 67.3 percent graduation rate.

“When you’re talking about raising the graduation rate, there’s a lot more that’s encompassed than just that,” said Sylvia Hooker, the Georgia Department of Education deputy superintendent for school turnaround. “It’s creating a culture of high expectations.”

Using grant money, the schools were able to invest in more training for teachers and, in some cases, extend instructional time, which administrators say prevented more students from dropping out.

Lucy C. Laney High School is also a grant recipient, although it was not one of the seven grant schools that achieved an 80 percent graduation rate. In 2011, Laney had a 71.4 graduation rate, which was still a significant increase from its 30.9 percent graduation rate in 2008.

Josey Principal Ronald Wiggins said helping more students earn diplomas had a lot to do with being more engaged in their lives and their education.

“I don’t think that students at Josey ever didn’t want to graduate, I don’t think that was the perception … I think a lot of our students didn’t know how to graduate,” he said.

Many students didn’t have support systems at home that encouraged finishing high school or had parents who never graduated, Wiggins said.

Counselors taught students about planning graduation early, and a family facilitator met with parents and community members to get them engaged.

Wiggins said being one of seven of Georgia’s 40 School Improvement Grant schools to meet the 80 percent graduation mark is encouraging, but it’s just the beginning of reform at his school.

“I’m still looking for a total picture,” Wiggins said. “(Graduation is) just one component of the school.”

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iLove
626
Points
iLove 01/06/12 - 04:37 pm
0
0
Congratulations to the ENTIRE
Unpublished

Congratulations to the ENTIRE STAFF of all three schools. I am SURE educating a child, these days, is a DIFFICULT task. Continue the awesome job!

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 01/06/12 - 04:51 pm
0
0
(I)Love, You're right on the

(I)Love,

You're right on the money.

kiwiinamerica
942
Points
kiwiinamerica 01/06/12 - 06:06 pm
0
0
I smell rotten fish. I'd like
Unpublished

I smell rotten fish. I'd like to believe this represents real progress but I'm deeply suspicious. I have a close family member who works in the Richmond County public school system and the shenanigans which are used to cook the books and move non-performing students through the system never cease to amaze me.

There are essentially two ways to improve graduation rates. One is to improve student performance so that it meets the desired standards. The second (and much simpler method) is to lower the standards so that they conform to student performance. When I hear of a school whose graduation rate has more than doubled in the space of 3 years, I suspect the latter. My suspicions are further aroused by the fact that federal money was spent on this initiative, which necessitates having to show something in return for the money spent. Imagine having to tell the government that you blew a few million dollars of its money and have nothing to show for it. Not a prospect which administrators would be happy to face, I don't imagine.

Real growth and real improvement usually take some time as they require changing a culture and building something brick by brick. Spectacular, overnight growth is usually bogus. Over recent years, there has been an inexorable decline in standards and I've seen nothing to convince me that this decline has been reversed.

younameit
188
Points
younameit 01/06/12 - 05:41 pm
0
0
Isn't Wayne Frazier at Glenn

Isn't Wayne Frazier at Glenn Hills? Doesn't it seem that success in education emanates from every institution he runs? Is it possible that total commitment to the process yields tangible results? Is it too much to expect such commitment from others in similar positions? So many questions!

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 01/07/12 - 02:47 am
0
0
(Y)ounameit, "Total

(Y)ounameit,

"Total commitment" is a key.

My siblings, many cousins, friends and I were the beneficiaries of the total commitment of The Sisters of Mercy at Sacred Heart School in the mid-to-late 50s. There is no substitute for it. The prodigal expenditure of money certainly is not one.

avidreader
3222
Points
avidreader 01/07/12 - 11:27 am
0
0
This is wonderful news. The

This is wonderful news. The principals, faculty, and staff of JHS and GHHS deserve the admiration of our communtity. I hope our citizens understand what a huge feat these people have accomplished. But I am especially proud of the students. As I said in an earlier post, I still believe in the integrity of our school system. Educators do care, and as long as this attitude permeates the system, it will continue to show positive results. Amen!

allhans
23673
Points
allhans 01/07/12 - 11:38 am
0
0
Now..if only...

Now..if only...

jbfj
32
Points
jbfj 01/07/12 - 09:16 pm
0
0
Is there any hope for Butler?

Is there any hope for Butler?

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