Updated results show more making progress

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Richmond County has demonstrated that schoolchildren can perform in spite of the challenges associated with a high-poverty environment, Superintendent Dana Bedden said Tuesday.

Twelve additional schools were announced as making adequate yearly progress, according to updated results released by the Georgia Department of Education. Adequate yearly progress is the annual federal measure of school performance under No Child Left Behind legislation.

Tuesday's results reflect the improved performance pupils made on retakes of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, summer school graduates and school appeals.

This is the first year the federal government has allowed retest results to be factored in, state department spokesman Dana Tofig said. The new results, however, won't affect the consequences for schools that have failed to make progress.

In July, 29 of Richmond County's 57 schools made adequate yearly progress, but the latest results now show 41 met the standard.

The improvement is particularly significant because the bar for making adequate yearly progress was raised and most of the children in Richmond County schools are considered low income, Dr. Bedden said during a news conference.

"The results indicate that there can be successes in spite of socioeconomic challenges, and that our children can learn and will learn and will be successful if given the appropriate opportunities, if given the appropriate resources and the appropriate time to work on the work they need to be successful in," the superintendent said.

Tuesday's numbers show 71.9 percent of schools made adequate yearly progress, an improvement on last year's 70.2 percent, but Dr. Bedden warned against judging a school solely on making the benchmark. A school must meet every measure for every category of pupil to meet the standard.

"I think it's important to note that as we continue to judge and talk about education in Richmond County, that we not only look at the AYP status but that we also consider the academic measures that these schools are asked to meet," he said.

Richmond County met 826 of its 881 measures, he said.

"What it says is that we've still got work to do, but the sky is not falling," Dr. Bedden said.

The retest results had no affect on the adequate yearly progress status of any Columbia County school, but they did affect the system as a whole.

Columbia County improved as a school system in its math scores for pupils with disabilities. The score improved enough to help the system meet adequate yearly progress standards in that category.

Statewide, the updated results showed 241 schools made adequate yearly progress that hadn't initially.

The state also recorded its highest graduation rate since the number has been calculated, Mr. Tofig said.

The rate increased by more than three points to 75.4 percent for 2008.

Columbia County Bureau Chief Donnie Fetter contributed to this story.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

MEETING THE MARK


New schools making adequate yearly progress Tuesday:


- Barton Chapel Elementary


- Bayvale Elementary


- Blythe Elementary


- East Augusta Middle


- Meadowbrook Elementary


- National Hills Elementary


- Rollins Elementary


- Sego Middle


- Sue Reynolds Elementary


- Tobacco Road Elementary


- Wilkinson Gardens Elementary


- Windsor Spring Elementary




CHANGE IN STATUS


Now off needs improvement list (made adequate yearly progress two years in a row)


- East Augusta Middle


- Sego Middle




Source: Georgia Department of Education


UPDATED GRADUATION RATES

SCHOOL 2007 2008
Academy of Richmond County 65.1% 65.4%
A.R. Johnson Health Science 98.8% 100%
and Engineering Magnet High School
Butler High School 62.4% 60.4%
Cross Creek High School 60.8% 69.2%
John S. Davidson 100% 100%
Fine Arts Magnet School
Glenn Hills High School 77.5% 59.9%
Hephzibah High School 65.2% 66.3%
T.W. Josey High School 57.8% 46.2%
Lucy C. Laney High School 45.7% 30.9%
Westside High School 71.2% 70.8%

Source: Georgia Department of Education

Comments (30) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 10/01/08 - 02:32 am
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It's GREAT to have in the

It's GREAT to have in the RCSS superintendency a person who appreciates the value of COMMUNITY, OPENNESS, HONESTY and providing our children with REAL OPPORTUNITIES based on HIGH EXPECTATIONS!

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 10/01/08 - 04:41 am
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I noticed Butler, Glenn

I noticed Butler, Glenn Hills, Josey and Laney graduation rates all fell when standardized testing was enforced. This seems to make clear what the procedure was before. Expecting more from the students is how you get more from the students.

christian134
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christian134 10/01/08 - 05:14 am
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The problem with your comment

The problem with your comment patriciathomas is that it makes sense, good common sense which unfortunately does not seem to be overly abundant in this area...Raise the curve as such teachers will have to teach and students are going to have to study or they don't make the grade...The continued trend for lowering the curve only enhances the lack of common sense education and continues to keep Georgia as well as South Carolina on the bottom of the educational intelligence level...

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/01/08 - 05:55 am
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When the specific goals were

When the specific goals were listed in Dr. Bedden's contract for this year I thought that the RCBOE School Board had finally come up with a measurable AYP standard - increase it from 29 to 40 schools. However, I wonder now if someone already knew on September 11 when this performance based goal was set what these updated results were going to be? See: http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/091208/met_473099.shtml

keysplease
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keysplease 10/01/08 - 05:58 am
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PT, your comment doesn't make

PT, your comment doesn't make any sense. Graduation rates have to do with how many students graduate within a 4 year period of time, not test scores. There are few students that continue from 9th to 12th grade at the same school in high poverty schools because many move frequently during the school year.The only standardized test that high school students take is the Georgia High School Graduation Test. They haven't changed how this is calculated. The only thing that changed is that they took summer school graduations into consideration this year. Please understand the facts first.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 10/01/08 - 06:35 am
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Keysplease, you misunderstand

Keysplease, you misunderstand my comment. The graduation test and how it's scored hasn't changed, just the way the scores are handled. Now, with a competent superintendent of schools, students actually have to pass the graduation test to get credit for passing the graduation test. The fact that poor education and poor income go hand in hand isn't an excuse, it's a symptom.

Son of God
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Son of God 10/01/08 - 08:14 am
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The Richmond County Board of

The Richmond County Board of Education has made adequate yearly progress and the community is exceedingly proud of it. Our students CAN and WILL be successful no matter what circumstance might arise. The Richmond County Board of Education LIVE its mission. The high school dropout rate WILL DECREASE and STUDENTS ARE FIRST. We are trained to motivate, protect, and teach our children to become LIFELONG PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS IN SOCIETY. It SURELY shall come to pass. God is not finished replacing and removing everything in the way that discourages this from happening. We have made exceelent, quick, and supernatural changes so far through the GRACE OF GOD and we won't stop until the goals have been met. We will continue to let our haters be our motivators. DEATH AND LIFE are in the power of the tongue. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. I speak LIFE, SUCCESS, PEACE, HAPPINESS, LOVE, JOY, AND PROSPERITY TO EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY GOD'S LITTLE CHILDREN. God's little children are in our care and it is better to tie a millstone around your neck than to HARM (in words or deeds) one of God's little ones. They WILL pass the tests, they WILL learn and they WILL NOT FAIL! I love ALL children!

karmakills123
8
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karmakills123 10/01/08 - 08:29 am
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AYP..or Safe Harbor?

AYP..or Safe Harbor?

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/01/08 - 09:46 am
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Son of God: I am part of the

Son of God: I am part of the "community" and I am not "exceedingly proud" of the progress made. For example, look at the article and you will see the graduation rate for 2008 went down from the 2007 graduation rate for 5 of the 10 high schools. Good luck with your "They WILL pass the tests, they WILL learn and they WILL NOT FAIL!"

disssman
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disssman 10/01/08 - 10:37 am
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I only need to look at the

I only need to look at the graduation rates for ARC, Josey, Butler, Crosscreak, Glen hills, Westside, Hephzibah and of course the big winner Laney, to see how proud we should all be. I believe if we were serious about teaching, we would restrict athletics to only those schools with garduation above 90 percent. After all what is more important, knowing algebra or having bragging rights about a football team? By the way apparently we must be very proud of the the middle schools, I see where 2 made the list!!! They must be preparing them for High School!!!

Venus
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Venus 10/01/08 - 11:39 am
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No Longer Amazed get a life!

No Longer Amazed get a life! Is it so hard for you to find the good in this story! We are achieving yet you and others want to find all the negative stuff you can to continue to put our school system down. We are moving in the right direction could you all please be happy for the hard work the teachers, staff, children and parents have put forth. They have worked very hard and no one and I mean no one wants to always be kicked and told you didn't do this or didn't do that . We made progress in the right direction so please share our joy for once. Keep up the GOOD WORK!

jg41160
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jg41160 10/01/08 - 12:17 pm
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PT - IMO keysplease is not

PT - IMO keysplease is not using poverty as an excuse. The rates are based not on test scores but the percentage who enter the school in 9th grade and remain to graduate from that particular school. It is not a percentage of the 12th grade students taking the tests. Let's hope a large percentage of those not completing their education at the school they entered in 9th grade have been fortunate enough to graduate from another school.

No_Longer_Amazed
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/01/08 - 12:54 pm
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flowers: You can be in your

flowers: You can be in your dream world, but how the heck can you say "We are moving in the right direction" when the graduation rate has gone DOWN in 50 percent (5 out of 10) of the high schools?

Venus
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Venus 10/01/08 - 02:37 pm
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No Longer Amazed just in case

No Longer Amazed just in case you have no idea how the graduation rate is calculated here is a crash course in Graduation Rate 101. The process for counting drop out rates across the state is crazy. If a student enters the 9th grade in Atlanta and moves to Augusta the student is considered a DROP OUT. Even thought the student graduate on time the gaining school get the credit while the losing school get the title of DROP OUT. If a student starts the 9th grade at Butler and the family moves in ARC district the student is counted as a DROP OUT against Butler even though the student finish on time at ARC makes ARC numbers look real good. Even if a student starts the 9th grade in the state and moves to another state the student is counted as a DROPOUT. So what we are counting as drop outs may not be true figures, some could argue the numbers may be higher but they may be lower who knows since we are not tracking student properly.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 10/01/08 - 02:45 pm
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flowers, thanks for the info.

flowers, thanks for the info. It sounds like calculating graduation rates is a useless effort.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 10/01/08 - 02:47 pm
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flowers, thanks for the info.

flowers, thanks for the info. It sounds like calculating graduation rates is a useless effort. The transience of the black community makes the rates of predominately black schools look bad. Using the method you describe, flowers, makes the stats meaningless.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 10/01/08 - 03:51 pm
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well unless all the high

well unless all the high schools except johnson, davidson and cross creek the remaining hig schools did not meet ayp, so that means they are not graduation whether they stay at the scholl they originally enrolled at or transferred to. to how the graduation rates are calculated make little meaning. if you have 100 students and 70% of them fail, whether they transfer or not its still 70% failure rate. if you average all graduation rates it equals out to 55%, factor out the graduation rates of johnson and davidson then the overall graduation rates drop to 47%. now that is the statistic everyone should be concentrating on instead of how they are computed or for that matter what school plays what school in high school football or any other sporting activity. failure to do so with the graduation rates the way they are just be prepared to lose accreditation

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/01/08 - 06:44 pm
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flowers: I an much wiser and

flowers: I an much wiser and have deleted my 2:27 PM comment to jg41160 after looking at the graduation rate calculator for 2008 @ http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/grad%20rate%20calculation... CDC0D25BDAF584&Type=D

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/01/08 - 07:12 pm
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patriciathomas: Based on my

patriciathomas: Based on my 'new found' knowledge on graduation rates, I agree that "calculating graduation rates is a useless effort" and the way it is done "makes the stats meaningless." Now that leads me to another question: The ONLY way a school could show a 100 percent graduation rate is NOT TO HAVE any students start and who are not still at that school at the end of the school year (dropouts) in grade 9 (2005), grade 10 (2006), grade 11 (2007), and grade 12 (2008). So, how did the 2 magnet schools achieve a 100 percent graduation rate?

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 10/01/08 - 08:33 pm
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Makes no sense to me No

Makes no sense to me No Longer Amazed. I'm not sure how the graduation rate is calculated. I always assumed it was the number of seniors divided into the number of diplomas. All of the abra kadabra and voodoo are too confusing to me. However, since 1964 the laws governing "right and wrong" and "true and false" have been skewed to favor "fairness". Many absolutes have been done away with to level the playing field before dumping the students out into the world.

mojo
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mojo 10/01/08 - 09:43 pm
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It appears the art of "spin"

It appears the art of "spin" is alive an well.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/01/08 - 09:49 pm
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One last comment for tonight

One last comment for tonight in response to the question "Is it so hard for you to find the good in this story." To me the bottom line is the original intent of NCLB which is preparing our youth to go out into the community and be productive citizens. WE ARE NOT DOING THAT when 5 of the 10 RCBOE high schools had a DECREASE in graduation rate. To quote a report put out by the Georgia Governor, "Statistics show that only six percent of the jobs in the United States can be filled by a worker without a high school diploma. That means 94 out of 100 jobs require at least a high school education."

hscounselor
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hscounselor 10/02/08 - 08:02 am
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Also to consider, a student

Also to consider, a student who doesn't graduate with a regular diploma is considered a drop-out. This would include any special education student who attended school for four years, passed every class that is appropriate for them but did not pass the same graduation tests as regular education students. These students will earn a special education diploma, but they are counted as a drop out.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/02/08 - 08:55 am
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hscounselor: You are so

hscounselor: You are so correct. I found out that the graduation rate is the number of graduates with a regular diploma divided by (9th plus 10th plus 11th plus 12th grade dropouts plus graduates with a special education diploma plus graduates with a certificate of attendance). That is why my 8:12 PM comment asked the question "So, how did the 2 magnet schools achieve a 100 percent graduation rate?" A large number of the magnet school students are from military families who are always moving, which is considered a 'dropout' and makes it hard to believe that they had NO dropouts of any kind over the last 4 years. Someone needs to re-look their figures! As mojo said "It appears the art of "spin" is alive an well."

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/02/08 - 09:03 am
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I would also have to add that

I would also have to add that now the low graduation rates at the other high schools might no be as bad as they appear, given the way it is calculated.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/02/08 - 09:57 pm
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And tonight's final comment

And tonight's final comment is that I now understand why there are so many people who 'whoop and holler' at the high school graduations. It is such an honor to be one of the few who manage to graduate!

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/03/08 - 08:27 pm
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Since my original comments I

Since my original comments I have found very informative information that explains “dropout” and how it is determined. Military family movement IS NOT included as a dropout as I previously thought. Withdrawal under the following conditions ARE included in dropout statistics: Marriage, Expelled, Financial Hardship/Job, Incarcerated/Under Jurisdiction of Juvenile or Criminal Justice Authority, Low Grades/School Failure, Military, Adult Education/Postsecondary, Pregnant/Parent, Removed for Lack of Attendance, Serious Illness/Accident, Unknown. The following ARE NOT included in dropout statistics: Court Order or Legal Requirement, Death, High School Graduation, Attend Home Study, Transferred to another public school system in Georgia, Transferred out of state or country or to a private school, SB10 State Schools Transfer, SB10 Private Schools Transfer, Public Schools Transfer, School Choice Transfer, USCO.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/03/08 - 08:34 pm
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It should be noted that

It should be noted that students in the care of the Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Corrections, or Department of Human Resources may be coded transferred to another school system if the student is pursuing a high school diploma, not a GED, while under the care of the other agency.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 10/03/08 - 08:38 pm
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See "ABCs of AYP" @

See "ABCs of AYP" @ http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/ABCs%20of%20AYP%20(July%202008).pdf?p=6CC6799F8C1371F6D56AA3E2E3A52F4095F993A288400 C894F0DD6FAD94CFDDA&Type=D **** NOTE: when you cut and paste the URL remove the space between the .....88400 and C894F...... to make it work.

Son of God
0
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Son of God 10/05/08 - 11:03 pm
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No longer amazed and others,

No longer amazed and others, I WILL REPEAT MYSELF. The students WILL PASS THE TESTS. The students WILL NOT drop out of school and the students WILL NOT FAIL IN SOCIETY. Death and Life are in the power of the tongue. You have children and they are no different from other children. How dare you speak DEATH AND FAILURE on God's little ones.You are not a leader until you have lead the children to safety and not astray. God Bless!

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