Graduation up in final AYP report
'Significant' increase seen

CONYERS - Although the Rockdale County school system and all of its schools already met Adequate Yearly Progress when the initial results that were released in July, the Georgia Department of Education's release of the final results Thursday showed some school improvement and improvement in the system's graduation rate.

"The final AYP results include retest scores and we had many areas that increased in scores. But since we made AYP as a system with all of our schools individually, it does not change our AYP status at all," said Cindy Ball, director of community relations at RCPS. "However, we are very proud of the increased scores and recognize the hard work it took to achieve those increases."

She said the most notable increase was the system's graduation rate, which already was at its highest when the initial results were released.

Initially, the graduation rate for the 2008-09 school year was 81.3 percent. The final AYP results show that the graduation rate is actually 83 percent.

"This is a significant increase above the initial results," said RCPS Superintendent Samuel King in a press release Friday. "This increase, which includes retest scores, proves that our safety net and credit recovery programs are working. I truly appreciate the leadership of high school principals and Open Campus to ensure these programs are customized to meet the needs of each student individually. I congratulate the students and the entire faculty and staff whose hard work and dedication is reflected in these results."

The rate is up from 77.6 percent during the 2007-08 school year; since 2001, it was highest for the 2004-05 school year with 80 percent.

In the final reports, the state's graduation rate was 78.9 percent and very few systems in Georgia are showing above 80 percent, according to the press release.

Since 2001, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools and school systems across the nation are required to meet a certain set of standards based on scores and participation on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests, as well as other collected data like student attendance and the graduation rate. Each year, those standards may increase. Schools that don't meet AYP on a regular basis eventually may be placed on the state's Needs Improvement list depending on their past performance; no schools in RCPS currently are on the Needs Improvement list.

This was the fourth consecutive year that RCPS met AYP. This year, 100 percent of its schools made AYP.

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