RCPS to see changes in school year

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

CONYERS -- Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Samuel King wants high school students and their parents to focus on several changes occurring this school year.

In a welcome back message to students, staff and parents, King noted that high-schoolers would face some different rules and requirements with regard to testing and rigor this year. This includes a change in focus from the Georgia High School Graduation Test to End of Course Tests, the National Collegiate Athletic Association now accepting credit recovery courses for athletes who wish to play college sports, HOPE scholarship funding, and more emphasis on academic rigor.

For the 2011-12 school year, ninth-grade students will take EOCTs that will count for 20 percent of their course grades and must pass the Georgia High School Writing Test, while 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders will have EOCT count for 15 percent of their course grades and must pass one EOCTs in each of the four content areas or pass the corresponding subject of the GHSGT; they also must pass the GHSWT, according to new state rules. The following years will see more changes to credits and graduation requirements as students go forward in high school.

Also this year, King said that requirements to obtain the HOPE scholarship for college funding have changed to include more rigorous and Advanced Placement course work. At RCPS, officials have focused on increasing rigor for all students and have increased the number of students choosing to enroll in honor and AP courses, he said.

"All three of our high schools and the Rockdale Career Academy were named AP honor schools by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement," King said. "We will continue our commitment to providing students with rigorous and challenging course work so they are well prepared for a successful future."

He said that a variety of learning opportunities allows each RCPS student to pursue their goals and aspirations through such programs at the Magnet School for Science and Technology, RCA, Open Campus, Virtual Campus, and credit recovery options.

He said RCPS is expanding course offerings for the Virtual Campus to keep pace with a heavier student load. Also, Rockdale County High School and its annex, which opened last year, will undergo more campus improvements funded through SPLOST funds later this year.

"Our strategic plan serves as the blueprint for our work and continuous improvement," King said. "Work on our next five-year plan has begun using a microcosm of the community who came together to review, revise and renew our mission, vision, beliefs, objectives and strategies. Additional stakeholder groups are working together to put action plans and steps in place for each of the new strategies."

King encouraged parents to review the changes and other rules, which are outlined in the RCPS parent handbook, with their children.

"I would like to urge parents to stay involved with their child's education and encourage their student to work hard and dream big," he said.