The school system will offer its first-ever Eighth Grade Transition Academy for students who failed the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test twice.
Students will receive four hours of remediation every weekday from July 9 to 20 in math and English in addition to mentoring to help with the stress of moving into the shoes of a high schooler.
“Even when you pass all your tests, you’re really not as ready as you feel you are for high school,” said Stacy Mabray, interim senior director of curriculum and instruction. “When the kids are behind and they get behind the level of rigor, it really adds up. We’re really trying to target that fragile population.”
The academy will be offered at five high schools, and transportation will be provided. The $82,000 program – which includes payroll, transportation and supplies – will be paid for through the district’s Race to the Top grant.
According to Georgia law, students who fail the CRCT are technically not eligible to rise to the next grade. Parents have a right to
appeal, though, and a
placement committee of the teachers, principal and parent of the student can come together to determine whether the student should advance.
Mabray said the academy will give the placement committees more evidence that students have mastered eighth grade content so they can move to the next grade.
“We want to make sure the kids have another opportunity to really be ready,” she said.
The academy is also part of a broader, long-term intervention plan. Schools will be required to monitor the progress of students who went through the academy to measure the program’s effectiveness.
The Richmond County Board of Education approved the academy Tuesday, and member Barbara Pulliam said she hopes it will help the district’s struggling students.
“Ninth grade all across the U.S. have the most failures in high school, so it would be interesting to know if this reduces that number,” Pulliam said. “Ninth grade is a hard time.”