3 schools in Richmond, Columbia counties rate high academically

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.

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.”

 

First ever ceremony recognizes Richmond County students' progress
School leaders at Jenkins White hope innovation leads to academic growth
Richmond County SAT scores improve again
Federal grants lead to culture changes at three Richmond County schools
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

More

Savannah River Site resumes normal activity

A suspicious item was discovered Wednesday afternoon at the Savannah River National Laboratory which prompted emergency responseactivities.

... Read more