Georgia releases updated list of lowest performing schools

Six Fulton County schools no longer in bottom 5% on Georgia Department of Education report card

Federal education law requires states to identify their worst-performing schools and provide them with help to improve.

Georgia schools end up on the list if they consistently perform in the bottom 5% on the state report card, the complex  College and Career Ready Performance Index. 

While the CCRPI charts school performance and progress on multiple measures, it largely relies on test scores to evaluate how well a school is doing. Schools dealing with the greatest entrenched poverty dominate the state’s list of lowest performers.

Under-performing schools find their way onto one of two lists; Comprehensive Support and Improvement  and Targeted Support and Improvement.

Schools end up on the CSI list for these reasons: 

Lowest 5%: Title I schools that, when ranked according to their three-year CCRPI average, are among the lowest performing 5% of Title I schools in the state.

Low Graduation Rate: High schools with a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate less than or equal to 67%.

Schools land on the TSI list for these reasons:

Consistently Underperforming Subgroup: The school has at least one subgroup performing in the lowest 5% of all schools in at least 50% of CCRPI components.

Additional Targeted Support: Among all schools identified in the “Consistently Underperforming Subgroup” category, the school has at least one subgroup that is performing in the lowest 5% of schools in all CCRPI components.

Alternative schools are common on the list. (For example, Cobb’s lone school on the CSI list is an alternative high school.) 

Looking at the metro districts on the 2019 CSI list: 

Atlanta Public Schools has 13 schools on the list.

Clayton has three. 

Cobb has one.

DeKalb has 10, including six high schools. 

Fulton and Gwinnett each have four.  

Thirty-five charter schools operate in Georgia under the auspices of the State Charter Schools Commission, which approved them and oversees them. Seven of these state charter schools -- 20% -- are on the CSI list. Among them is the state’s largest school with 10,000 students enrolled last year, Georgia Cyber Academy

The DOE’s Office of School Improvement works with CSI schools. School districts must provide support to TSI schools, but the state gives professional learning and technical assistance.

So, here is the update from DOE today of schools that exited the lists.

Twenty-six schools made the improvements necessary to exit the lowest 5% of schools or CSI-low graduation rate status, and another 21 made the improvements necessary to exit TSI status, for a total of 47 schools.

“It is our responsibility as a state to provide the support all schools need to improve, including intensive and tailored supports for struggling schools,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Our entire agency, led by our Office of School Improvement, partners with schools identified for additional support to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed – and that’s producing real improvements in schools. We’ll continue this all hands-on deck approach to school improvement, with the ultimate goal of ensuring every student in our state has access to a high-quality K-12 education.”

DOE singled out schools and districts that made improvements: 

Hunt Elementary School (Peach County Schools) exited CSI status and saw a 6-point increase in literacy and 19-point increase in progress from the 2018 to 2019 CCRPI. In partnership with GaDOE School Improvement, the school has focused on improving climate and culture; student-focused instruction and leadership; and building a school leadership team committed to the school’s mission and vision. Principal Anita Mathis recognized the need for structured reading intervention across grade levels and has placed a strong emphasis on reading instruction. Twelve teachers are seeking a reading endorsement in partnership with Middle Georgia RESA, and each student begins the day with 45 minutes of small-group reading.

Macon County Schools increased its districtwide CCRPI score by 11.9 points from 2018 to 2019 and had two schools – Macon County Middle School and Macon County Elementary School – exit CSI-lowest 5 percent status. The district has built strong partnerships with GaDOE School Improvement staff, with a focus on building local capacity to improve student outcomes. Superintendent Marc Maynor and his team have worked with GaDOE to increase the rigor and relevance of the district’s curriculum and ensure high levels of curriculum implementation and high-quality professional learning for teachers.

Fulton County Schools had six schools exit CSI-lowest 5 percent status: Feldwood Elementary School, McNair Middle School, Parklane Elementary School, Paul D. West Middle School, S.L. Lewis Elementary School, and Woodland Middle School. Fulton County has strategically aligned resources, personnel, and professional learning to support the specific needs of its CSI- and TSI-identified schools, in an ongoing and proactive approach to school improvement. The district has worked with GaDOE and with Metro RESA to ensure consistent monitoring of implementation data at the district, school, and classroom levels, attention to both academics and school climate, and proactive planning for success.

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About the Author

Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey
Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.
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