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Two more schools meet AYP

COVINGTON — Two more Newton County Schools met Adequate Yearly Progress, according to updated results, but the system as a whole still did not meet the state standards.

According to an updated report of AYP by the Georgia Department of Education on Friday, Cousins and Indian Creek middle schools now have met AYP. The report includes retest results from students who took the standardized tests like the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests over the summer.

"Students, faculty and administration at CMS and ICMS are to be congratulated," said Newton County School Superintendent Gary Mathews in a press release. "The federal AYP is challenging in that it requires progress for all groups of learners including the economically disadvantaged and special needs. The objective is to teach all kids well as it should be."

With the updated results, Cousins Middle School is no longer on the state's Needs Improvement list, where schools are placed and monitored by the state for not meeting standards for two or more years in a row. Although Cousins did not meet AYP in 2009, it did in 2008.

"Obviously, we are excited to know that our school has achieved Adequately Yearly Progress as required under the current law," said Scott Sauls, principal of Cousins Middle School, in the press release. "It is certainly a tribute to the performance of our students but also verifies the hard work that our staff puts forth daily to provide a quality education for all students. Thanks are also offered to our parents who continue to support us and believe in what we are doing here for their children. Hopefully, this announcement will motivate our students to continue to work hard to achieve AYP for this coming year."

ICMS still is on the state's Needs Improvement list because it did not meet AYP in 2008 or 2009. If it meets AYP next school year, it will be taken off the list.

"This is a proud moment for Indian Creek Middle School," said Renee Mallard, principal of Indian Creek, in the press release. "We are working hard to move out of Needs Improvement status, and this announcement validates and celebrates everyone's hard work and dedication. Achieving this would not have been possible without the concerted and collaborative efforts of our teachers, staff and students. I am fortunate to be part of this team."

The remaining six schools that did not meet AYP according to results in July — Ficquett, Middle Ridge and Porterdale elementary schools, Liberty and Veterans Memorial middle schools and Newton High School — still did not meet AYP with new test scores included. The system as a whole also did not meet AYP with the updated results.

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 test scores, attendance and participation, as well as other collected data like elementary school absenteeism and a high school's graduation rate. It also analyzes several subgroups like Students With Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged and those in various race categories.

Many of the schools did not meet AYP due to performance in the Students With Disabilities subgroup.

Last school year, six schools and the system as a whole did not meet AYP with preliminary results. Later, with the final results, the system and three more schools met AYP.

A complete AYP report on each school and school system across Georgia is available on the GaDOE website, www.gadoe.org.