Three more schools meet AYP
Six fail to achieve state standards

COVINGTON - After including students' summer retest scores of the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests in Adequate Yearly Progress results, the Georgia Department of Education has determined that three schools that previously did not meet state standards now have met them, but the school system as a whole still does not meet the standards.

According to final AYP results that the GaDOE released Friday, Palmer-Stone Elementary School and Clements and Cousins middle schools now have met AYP. Six other schools, as well as the Newton County School System as a whole, did not meet AYP when results were originally released in July and after the state included summer graduates, CRCT retests in grades three, five and eight and appeals.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, each year schools are required to meet a certain set of standards in academic performance based on scores from the CRCT in elementary and middle schools and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests in high schools; officials also look at test participation and a second indicator, such as attendance and graduation rates. Stakes typically are raised each school year.

The results showed that the schools in Newton County met standards in the second indicators and many academic performance areas, but some did not meet requirements in such subgroups as Students With Disabilities and Economically Disadvantaged students in CRCT mathematics and reading/English language arts.

After adding in the summer retest results, many schools' data improved, which is how the three Newton County schools met standards.

"Everyone has worked very hard to increase student achievement," said Dr. Adria Griffin, middle school curriculum director for NCSS, in a press release. "It's satisfying to all to have their efforts validated and recognized."

The three school principals said "thanks" go to the students, teachers and parents for their hard work and dedication.

The final report was exciting to Clements Middle School students and school principal Sylvia Jordan, as this is the first year the school has made AYP.

"We are all simply ecstatic and overjoyed about our schools," Jordan said in a press release. "When the announcement was made to the teachers and the students, you could hear screams of joy from every corner of the building. It feels very good to see the happiness and the pride of the people inside the walls of R.L. Clements Middle School."

Clements Middle School, as well as Middle Ridge and Porterdale elementary schools, remain on the state's Needs Improvement list based on previous year's AYP results and this year's results; schools must meet AYP for two consecutive years to be removed from the list.

At least 430 students in the Newton County School System, including 323 from Clements Middle School, have transferred from their assigned home schools to another Newton County school of their choice as a result of federal No Child Left Behind Public School Choice, which requires schools on the Needs Improvement list to offer such a choice.

A list of results and data for schools in Newton County and in Georgia is available at the Georgia Department of Education Web site, www.gadoe.org.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.