Middle Ridge must offer school choice

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Middle Ridge Elementary School must continue to offer school choice this upcoming school year based on Adequate Yearly Progress data.

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

Preliminary results from the 2010-11 AYP report released last week showed that Middle Ridge did not meet AYP, according to preliminary results. It also did not meet AYP in 2008 and 2010, but it met it in 2007 and 2009. Last school year, too, Middle Ridge had to offer a school choice because of AYP 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 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 such as Students With Disabilities, Economically Disadvantaged and those in various race categories.

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.

This school year, Middle Ridge students may attend Fairview or Livingston elementary schools, which are not on the state's Needs Improvement list.

Nine other Newton County schools also did not meet AYP for the 2010-11 school year -- Ficquett, Livingston, Live Oak and West Newton elementary schools; Clements and Cousins middle schools; Alcovy and Newton high schools; and Challenge Charter Academy -- based on preliminary results, but they do not have to offer school choice because of past performance.

Last year, Indian Creek Middle School had to offer a school choice, but the school met AYP this year for the second consecutive year and no longer has to offer a school choice. Students zoned to ICMS who already were exercising the school choice option may remain at their choice schools, but NCSS no longer will provide bus transportation to those students. Students may return to ICMS by completing an opt out form.

Parents who wish to have their Middle Ridge student attend a choice school must complete a form they should have received in the mail earlier this month; it also is available at www.newtoncountyschools.org. It must be returned by Friday.

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