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3 schools in Richmond, Columbia counties rate high academically

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 4:25 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 6:29 PM
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EDITOR'S NOTE: A list accompanying an article in Wednesday’s Augusta Chronicle titled “Trio of area schools receive ‘Reward’ ” should not have included the Academy of Richmond County and Lake Forest Hills Elementary School as Focus Schools. Those two had their Focus Schools designation removed this year because they are no longer Title I, or low income, schools. The Georgia Department of Education announced Focus Schools designations in 2012 to Title I schools with the largest gaps in achievement or gradation rate.

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Student Aaliyah Cruz, 9, does her schoolwork in her third-grade class at Jenkins White Elementary Charter School in Augusta. The school is one of just three in the area to be named as a Reward School by the state of Georgia.     MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Student Aaliyah Cruz, 9, does her schoolwork in her third-grade class at Jenkins White Elementary Charter School in Augusta. The school is one of just three in the area to be named as a Reward School by the state of Georgia.

The Chronicle regrets the error.

Two schools in Richmond County and one in Columbia County on Tuesday received the highest academic designation by the Georgia Department of Education given to schools serving children from low-income families.

Jenkins White Elementary Charter and Butler High schools in Richmond County were named Reward Schools for being among the 10 percent of Title I schools in the state making the most progress over three years on state assessments.

Westmont Elementary in Martinez was among the 5 percent of Title I schools in Georgia with the highest absolute performance over three years, the second way to qualify as a Reward School.

“I’m overjoyed because it says we’re going in the right direction,” Jenkins White Principal Earl Kelton said. “It doesn’t mean we’re there, but it means we’re making progress and that’s a really big step.”

The state department on Tuesday also identified 45 Alert Schools, a designation given to both Title I and non-Title I schools performing below the state average in graduation rate, subgroup achievement or in a tested subject.

Six Richmond County schools, three more than last year, were labeled Alert Schools. Diamond Lakes Ele­mentary, Spirit Creek Mid­dle, Bayvale Elementary, Sego Middle and Blythe Elementary all had achievement in the “white” subgroup below the state’s average for that demographic. Meadowbrook Elementary received the label for having its English Language Arts achievement fall below the state’s average.

Georgia began using these performance designations in 2012, when the state department received a waiver from No Child Left Behind provisions.

The Reward title replaced Distinguished Schools as the highest designation for Title I, or low income, schools. The department also developed Priority and Focus titles to identify Title I schools that are the lowest performing in the state or those with the largest achievement gaps.

In Richmond County, four schools were labeled as Priority and five as Focus, and each have three-year designations. Columbia County has two Focus Schools, also with a three-year timetable to improve.

Butler Principal Greg Thompson said the Reward status gives a nod to the hard work his faculty and students have put into raising achievement over the last three years.

Butler increased the school day by 30 minutes last year to focus on writing and End of Course Test preparations. Teachers receive professional learning once a week and have increased the focus on collaboration to improve lesson planning. They also use data to analyze students’ weak points and spend time in the day on remediation.

“All the hard work we’ve put in over the years is starting to pay off,” Thompson said. “It feels really good.”

AREA SCHOOL DESIGNATIONS

REWARD SCHOOLS

The highest designation for Title I, or low income, schools. Can be awarded for highest progress or highest overall performance in the state:

• Butler High

• Jenkins White Elementary Charter

• Westmont Elementary (Columbia County)

ALERT SCHOOLS

A designation given to Title I and non-Title I schools performing below the state average in graduation rate, subgroup achievement or tested subject:

• Diamond Lakes Elementary

• Spirit Creek Middle

• Bayvale Elementary

• Sego Middle

• Blythe Elementary

• Meadowbrook Elementary

PRIORITY SCHOOLS

These schools were labeled Priority Schools in 2012 and have three years to improve in order to shake the status. Priority status is the most severe designation in the state, indicating the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools in Georgia:

• Hornsby K-8

• T.W. Josey High

• Lucy C. Laney High

• Glenn Hills High

FOCUS SCHOOLS

These schools were labeled Focus Schools in 2012 and have three years to improve and shake the status. Focus status is placed on Title I schools with the largest gaps in achievement or graduation rate:

• Grovetown Middle (Columbia County)

• Cedar Ridge Elementary (Columbia County)

• Langford Middle

• Murphey Middle

• Tutt Middle

NO LONGER ON FOCUS SCHOOLS LIST

Those SCHOOLS had their Focus Schools designation removed this year because they are no longer Title I, or low income, schools. 

• Academy of Richmond County

• Lake Forest Hills Elementary

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jamc1103
134
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jamc1103 11/12/13 - 06:56 pm
2
1
Shake the status or what?

The article says they have 3 years to improve in order to shake the status. What happens to the schools if they don't improve? Nothing!!!! And that is a problem.

Pops
7784
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Pops 11/12/13 - 07:19 pm
5
1
Those are some very

impressive designations for the schools......probably takes administrators all year to test and assign these terms to the schools.....too bad it's just bureaucratic mumbo jumbo........I really don't understand why the schools are having any academic concerns.....when the busing started in the early 1970's, all students were supposed to score off the charts.....what in the world is going on??? Did the plan not work??

GnipGnop
11907
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GnipGnop 11/12/13 - 09:40 pm
5
1
This just shows politics doesn't belong in schools

Until you can honestly test students without parents raising heck because Johnny isn't Einstein. Administrators quit teaching the tests and start holding teachers accountable for actually teaching. You hold ALL students responsible for their behavior and remove them from school if they disrupt the learning process for others, the school system will be substandard...no matter what county, state or anything else...

itsanotherday1
42229
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itsanotherday1 11/12/13 - 11:08 pm
3
1
GnipGnop

That is all fine and well; but it fails pathetically in the #1 criteria...

Your solution is spot on, just not politically correct.

itsanotherday1
42229
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itsanotherday1 11/12/13 - 11:13 pm
3
1
I can't figure out what the

I can't figure out what the reporter was trying to say here. To have a headline that says 3 schools excel, and then go on to name a bunch that stink seems contradictory. Build us up and then slap us down I guess. ;)

GnipGnop
11907
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GnipGnop 11/13/13 - 12:07 am
4
1
I agree IAD1

It's time to do away with PC and use some CS! (common sense)

seenitB4
85748
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seenitB4 11/13/13 - 07:15 am
3
1
Common sense

Left this building a long time ago....

kc fan
137
Points
kc fan 11/13/13 - 09:31 am
2
1
in Columbia County

it means that the CCBOE is giving you more help then you want to those 2 schools. I watched first hand as a teacher at one of the focus schools in Col County the number of students from Richmond County migrating into the school zones of the 2 focused schools. Just saying, you make the connection. Having to correct what goes uncorrected for years is difficult. Glad I don't have to do it anymore!

Bizkit
30803
Points
Bizkit 11/13/13 - 11:13 am
3
2
Gosh given the failed public

Gosh given the failed public education system in Georgia-isn't it like comparing vomit to doo-doo? I don't see how all these "standards" are really improving the quality of students. Now of course "on paper" they may appear to improve but I really wonder about the this. I guess it may be a gene pool phenomena like the increase incidence of autism now, but it seems now besides teaching the fundamentals we now have to try to teach students how to critically think logically. It seems many have loss the ability. They can memorize facts but don't know what to do with it. At least that is the case by the time they make through public school and make it to me in college. It's a paradox to see a bright intelligent student who appears an idiot. You teach them, they memorize for an exam then brain dump. You find yourself reteaching before you can go ahead. I think technology contributes to this loss of thinking skills. What we use to do with slide rules and wit now students just plug the data into a device and the answer "magically" comes out. Have a problem-Google it. Students don't have a clue what "plagiarism" means. How do I detect it-just paste and Google their paper. Dang Biz lost-loss can't spell this morinin'-need coffee. Hee,hee,hee.

GnipGnop
11907
Points
GnipGnop 11/13/13 - 01:56 pm
1
0
The fact that the truth

gets a thumbs down only proves my point....

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