Middle Ridge, Indian Creek must offer school choices

COVINGTON — Two Newton County public schools will have to offer a school choice this upcoming school year due to their preliminary Adequate Yearly Progress data.

This school year, students at Middle Ridge Elementary School and Indian Creek Middle School have the option to attend one of two other schools in the Newton County School System, as required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Assistant Act, which was formerly known as the No Child Left Behind Act Public School Choice.

Preliminary results from the 2009-10 AYP report released Monday showed that Middle Ridge Elementary and Indian Creek Middle schools did not meet AYP, along with six other NCSS schools.

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 attendance and participation on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests at the elementary and middle school level, as well as other collected data like elementary school absenteeism.

It also analyzes several subgroups like Students With Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged and those in various race categories. This school year, Middle Ridge and ICMS did not meet AYP due to the academic performance of their Students With Disabilities group.

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. Some of those schools also may have to offer school choice if they are on the list for two or more consecutive years, as is the case for Middle Ridge and ICMS.

Middle Ridge Elementary students may attend East Newton or Heard-Mixon elementary schools, and ICMS students may attend Clements or Liberty middle schools, which all are schools that are not in Needs Improvement Status; neither Clements nor Liberty met AYP this past school year based on the preliminary results.

NCSS will provide bus transportation for these students, but will not provide mileage reimbursement for parents who drive their students to schools, as NCSS has done for some choice schools in the past.

Parents should expect to receive a form in the mail to return to the Office of Federal Programs at the Newton County BOE building at 2109 Newton Drive N.E. in Covington by July 30.

Middle Ridge will hold an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 27, and ICMS will hold a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 28.

More information also is available by contacting a school principal or the Office of Federal Programs.

Ficquett and Porterdale elementary schools; Cousins, Liberty and Veterans Memorial middle schools; and Newton High School also did not meet AYP this past school year, according to the preliminary results, but they are not currently on the Needs Improvement list due to their past performance of making AYP.

Although Liberty did not meet AYP based on preliminary data this year, it did meet AYP last year and no longer has to offer a school choice as it has in the past. However, students attending the school based on the previous school choice options can remain at Liberty until the highest grade offered, eighth grade, but NCSS no longer provides bus transportation for those students or mileage reimbursement for the parents.

Liberty families also will receive a form in the mail to complete and return to the Office of Federal Programs at NCSS.