COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – The Georgia Department of Education just released new data on the worst performing Title I schools, and some are from Muscogee County.
Out of the 1,650 Title I schools in the state – receiving federal money because nearly half of its students are from low income families – 246 made the list of the lowest for performance. 7 of those are from Muscogee County.
"Priority Schools," in the lowest 5 percent of Title I schools in Georgia for academic achievement, include Jordan and Spencer High Schools. Those among the lowest 10 percent in the state for achievement gap are called "Focus Schools" – on that list is Davis, Georgetown, Martin Luther King Jr. and Rigdon Road elementary schools, and also Baker Middle School – which has improved from being in the lowest 5 percent just 3 years ago.
Muscogee County Superintendent Dr. David Lewis said, "The identification of both Focus and Priority school lists is based upon lagging, year-old data from the 2013-2014 school year, which we have already analyzed. While trend data reveals the longstanding challenges these schools have faced, we will address them head-on to ensure that our district achieves the high standards we have established."
Three Muscogee County schools improved enough to drop off the list they were on in 2012 - Kendrick High School, Rothschild Leadership Academy and Fox Elementary School. One of the most positive aspects of the report involved Jordan High School, which earned the highest College and Career Ready Performance Index score of any School Improvement Grant school in Georgia.
"We would like to commend the school communities of Fox, Rothschild, Baker, Kendrick, and Jordan for their dedication and hard work leading to these improvements," Muscogee County superintendent Dr. David Lewis said.
"We are excited about our progress and must build on the momentum to ensure that all students continue to come to school excited to learn daily and exemplify the attributes of true leaders," said Dr. Michael Forte, Rothschild Leadership Academy Principal. "Our teachers, our parents, our staff, and our administrators go above and beyond to help provide the vital support to reinforce positive expectations."
Analysis by top Muscogee County educators, of past Title I performance reports, was used to implement several strategic changes to curriculum and programs recently in local schools – including new reading and math curriculum frameworks, along with reorganizing the school district into three regional zones to help provide more focused instructional and operational support to schools.
"We have the evidence-based framework to initiate the next phase of the proposed plan to build capacity at the school and district levels in order to transform these schools and our district," Dr. Lewis said. "Given the necessary time, structure, resources and support we are confident that these school communities and their leadership will meet our commitment to a high quality education that all students deserve."
State superintendent Richard Woods said in a news release, "Identifying Priority and Focus schools allows us to offer targeted assistance where it is needed most. The GaDOE will work with the schools identified to ensure they have the resources they need to provide a quality education for their students."
The process to identify the 2015 Priority Schools includes: Calculating a three-year average of performance on the content mastery category of the College and Career Ready Performance Index, based on results from the state's standardized tests, then ranking those schools based on that 3-year average.