Students transfer, portables put to use

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In News Leader Nine's education watch, more than 300 Muscogee County high school students are moving to a new school, all because their's didn't make the grade.

Muscogee County Schools must make "Adequate Yearly Progress", or AYP, under the Federal "No Child Left Behind" Act.

Only three local schools -- Columbus, Hardaway and Northside High -- made AYP for the 2007-2008 school year. Out of the schools that did not meet requirements, four were labeled as "Needs Improvement" schools. That makes those students eligible for a transfer, and now the school district has to make room for them.

Valerie Fuller with the Muscogee County School District said, "Parents have the option of filing a No Child Left Behind transfer to a different school. So we have two schools: Northside High and Hardaway."

Columbus High School also met AYP criteria, but because of their magnet program, they do not accept transfers from No Child Left Behind.

Of the 333 transferring students, 94 are coming from carver High School, 115 from Jordan Vocational and 124 from Spencer High School.

"We have 80 students going to Hardaway and approximately 253 going to Northside at this time," Fuller added.

Fuller added Hardaway and Northside will receive five portable classrooms each to handle the overflow, "At Northside we knew it was a large growth are so we can expect students will be coming to schools in that area, however, we also know we have BRAC that's coming. We were able to look ahead at some of those things."

Skeptics say if students transfer from a "Needs Improvement" school, that establishment would only get lower test scores as years go on. But Fuller says the school district keeps expectations high for all their schools, "If they are not meeting standards at one school, through supplemental education services, additional tutoring and quality teachers at those schools, the bar will be raised."

In addition to adding portable classrooms, Hardaway and Northside High Schools are considering extending breaks between classes and establishing additional space for lunch breaks. These are all issues that will be addressed before school starts in August.