Georgia released its brand-new report cards for schools and districts Tuesday, and Bulloch County fared well.
The schools are graded on a 100-point scale, with scores based largely on students’ performance on state tests, other factors such as attendance and graduation rates and the types of courses students take.
Four Bulloch County elementary schools exceeded the state’s elementary average of 83.4. The school district’s highest performing school was Brooklet Elementary with an overall score of 89, and the lowest performing school was Statesboro High at 68.2.
All of the district’s four middle schools exceeded the state’s middle school average of 81.4. The schools ranged from Langston Chapel, 83.8, to Southeast Bulloch, 86.9.
Two of the high schools exceeded the state’s high school average of 72.6. Southeast Bulloch led the district with a score of 75.
The new system, known as College and Career Ready Performance Index, replaces the controversial Adequate Yearly Progress measure from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
No Child Left Behind, formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is still the law of the land, but Georgia and nine other states were granted waivers from the law by the U.S. Department of Education. Georgia’s waiver and its new assessments will remain valid until Congress either reinstates or replaces No Child Left Behind.
“We are glad to have the CCRPI as our accountability measure because it is comprehensive and robust, as opposed to AYP that focused primarily on math and language arts,” Bulloch County Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson said.
The results released Tuesday are based on data from the 2011-12 school year. Index results based on 2012-13 are scheduled to be released in October.
While the index results are measured and reported in the easier-to-understand 100-point scale, the volume of data and calculations behind those results is quite complex and even now is still being revised by state officials.
“While the initial CCRPI results may not be what we wanted to see in every area, we now have the information, which will ground us in our efforts going forward,” Wilson said. “We have been preparing our principals to address the gaps between where we need to be and where we are now, beginning with the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement’s (GLISI) leadership development program, which provides the tools for a school-based improvement plan.”
Each school’s and the district’s overall CCRPI score are made up of three major areas: (1) Achievement with 70 points possible; (2) Progress with 15 points possible; and (3) Achievement Gap with 15 points possible. In addition to the three major areas, some schools can receive up to 10 points added to their score for what is considered “Challenge” areas, such as having a significant number of students living in low-income families, whose first language is not English or who have disabilities. They also receive points for going beyond the targets of the index by challenging students to exceed expectations and participate in college and career readiness programs.
Next year, schools will also receive ratings based on their financial efficiency and school climate, but these ratings will be for the public’s information only and will not factor into the school’s overall CCRPI score.
One significant change under the performance index is that schools will no longer be classified as “meets” grade-level standards or “needs improvement” for performance. In fact, not all schools will receive a designation. Only top-performing schools or those that need improve in key areas will be classified as a Priority, Focus, Reward or Alert school. Criteria for placing schools in the first three categories were set by the U.S. Department of Education; however, the state set criteria for the Alert list.
For the Reward, Priority, and Focus schools, the state will only evaluate Title I schools, which receive extra federal money because they have high populations of students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Alert school designees will be both Title I and non-Title I schools. Thirteen of Bulloch County’s 15 schools are Title I designees.
Schools will be assessed every three years, rather than annually, except for Alert schools.
The school system has no schools on the Priority list, a designation comparable to AYP’s “Needs Improvement” list.
Two Bulloch County Schools, Brooklet Elementary and Langston Chapel Middle have been designated as Reward Schools. Brooklet was selected as one of 78 “Highest Performing” Schools in the state, and Langston Chapel Middle as one of the top 156 “Highest Progress” schools in the state.
Two Bulloch County schools, Julia P. Bryant Elementary and William James Middle School, were designated as Focus schools because of the need to narrow the achievement gap between each of the school’s highest academic achievers and their special education subgroups. Using the same 2011 data, both schools made AYP and were designated as Title I Distinguished Schools in 2012; however, the change in assessment tools led to the Focus designation.
To receive Achievement Gap points, a school and its subgroups must meet the goals established in academic subject areas. Subgroups include students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged pupils, English language learners, and students from a variety of ethnicities.