COVINGTON -- For the second consecutive year, the Newton County School System has not met Adequate Yearly Progress.
According to preliminary results for the 2010-11 school year released from the Georgia Department of Education on Thursday afternoon, 10 of 23 schools in NCSS did not meet AYP, nor did the system as a whole.
Despite this, NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews said that the system did almost twice as good as what was predicted. At the beginning of the school year, Mathews said that since 17 out of 23 schools earned AYP last school year, if results were to remain the same this school year, then 19 out of 23 of the schools would not make AYP this year because of a required increase in performance areas.
"Our folks are working hard and, more importantly, smart," Mathews said Tuesday to the Newton County Board of Education before official results were released. "I think that shows in the 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 scores, attendance and participation on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests, as well as other collected data like elementary school absenteeism and a high school's graduation rate.
The report looks at students in each grade, school and system; it also analyzes several subgroups like Students With Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged and those in various race categories.
Each year, those standards may increase in various areas. For instance, a high school had to have a graduation rate of 85 percent or higher this year, up from 80 percent last year.
The following NCSS schools did not meet AYP for the 2010-11 school year, according to preliminary results: Ficquett, Livingston, Live Oak, Middle Ridge and West Newton elementary schools; Clements and Cousins middle schools; Alcovy and Newton high schools; and Challenge Charter Academy.
According to NCSS, four of the schools not meeting AYP -- Alcovy, Cousins, Middle Ridge, and Oak Hill -- was due to academic performance of students with disabilities. For Live Oak, it was the academic performance of the black subgroup, and for Livingston, the black and economically disadvantaged subgroups resulted in the school's AYP designation. Ficquett Elementary did not meet AYP due to performance of the black, economically disadvantaged and students with disabilities subgroups.
Across the state, more than 63 percent of schools -- and 26 out of 180 school systems -- met AYP for the 2010-11 school year, compared to 71 percent of schools the previous school year.
"We have many great schools in the state providing a high-quality education to all students," said State School Superintendent John Barge in a press release. "But the rate at which the academic bar and the graduation rate requirement increased this year prevented more schools from making AYP. We knew we were up against the proverbial wall because this bar increases each year, and it appears that we have begun to hit it."
By 2014, all students will be expected to be 100 percent proficient, under NCLB, state officials said.
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.
As a result, Ficquett and Middle Ridge are on the Needs Improvement list this year because of previous results. Middle Ridge must offer school choice and supplemental services to students next school year. Newton High School also must offer supplemental services.
Indian Creek met AYP this school year and is now off the state's Needs Improvement list for meeting it for the second consecutive year after not meeting it for the previous years.
Across the state, 17.5 percent of schools are on the Needs Improvement list, compared to more than 15 percent last year.
Last school year, NCSS as a whole did not meet AYP with preliminary results, along with eight schools. Later, with the final results that included CRCT and GHSGT retest scores, two more schools met AYP, but the system as a whole still did not.
Final AYP results usually are released in September.
A complete AYP on each school and school system across Georgia is available on the GaDOE Web site, www.gadoe.org.