GCCS meets AYP goals
By Faye Ellison
As Glascock County Consolidated School students and faculty headed back into the classroom Tuesday, there was a reason to celebrate.
The Glascock County School System has met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for their third year straight. AYP is one of the cornerstones of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. It is a measure of year-to-year student achievement on statewide assessments, according to the Georgia Department of Education.
The state of Georgia, school districts and each school will be held accountable for the academic success of students. The federal law requires that each state set high academic standards and implement an extensive student testing program which is aligned with standards and which measures students’ achievement based on the standards. AYP requires schools to meet standards in three areas including test participation for math and reading/English language arts, academic performance for the same subjects and a second indicator.
AYP holds each school district and each school accountable for the academic success of students.
Glascock County Consolidated School failed to meet AYP for five years before finally meeting requirements in 2004. After making AYP in 2004 and 2005, the school was removed from the Needs Improvement List.
A Needs Improvement school is a school that has been identified as needing to improve in specific area. Needs Improvement schools are not “failing” schools, the Georgia Department of Education points out.
Schools that do not make AYP for two or more consecutive years in the same subject are in need of improvement or are under-performing. Since 2003, the number on the Needs Improvement List has been reduced by 42 percent, according to the Georgia Department of Education. Only 15 percent of schools now remain on the list.
“The Glascock County School System has met the Adequate Yearly Progress goals as defined by the Georgia Department of Education for the 2005-2006 school term,” Glascock County School Superintendent Jim Holton said. “I want to thank the teachers, students and parents who put in the hard work that made this possible.”
The Glascock County Consolidated School was also chosen as a Title 1 Distinguished School this year. According to the Georgia Department of Education, schools that meet or exceed AYP for three or more consecutive years and have not been on the Unsafe Schools Choice Option (USCO) list within the last two years will be identified as Title 1 Distinguished Schools. The number of schools honored varies from year to year, and is dependent on the number of schools meeting the criteria and funding available.
With the Title 1 achievement, school districts are awarded administrative funds for making the greatest gains in the percent of children in the Title 1 category. Glascock County met or exceeded state standards on assessments administered in the 2003-2004 school year compared to assessments administered in the 2004-2005 school year.
Four school districts receive the award, one large with over 10,000 students, one medium with 4,000 to 9,999 students, one small with 2,000 to 3,999 and one extra small with fewer than 2,000 students.
The Glascock County School System received $50,000 after submitting a budget to the Georgia Department of Education for approval and with all expenditures meeting appropriate use of funds for Title 1.
“Even though we have made AYP for three consecutive years, we continue efforts to improve,” Holton said, adding, “Our teachers regularly participate in professional learning activities working to be as up-to-date on curriculum and instructional strategies as possible.”
Holton is in his fourth year as the Glascock County Superintendent of Schools.
County says no to septage resolution
• Flint Logistics-prepared resolution does not fit county's solid waste management plan
By Jessica Newberry
The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners should soon officially refuse to issue a letter of endorsement for the use of the old Forstmann site to treat Jefferson County septage.
At their Monday, July 31, work session, commissioners decided against supporting the plan of Flint Logistics Management, LLP, to reopen the wastewater treatment facility on Highway 171 due to a conflict with the Jefferson County Joint Solid Waste Management Plan.
The plan, adopted by all cities and the board of commissioners, went into effect in January 2005. It defines the Forstmann site as “unsuitable for the siting of landfill and solid waste facilities and land applied biosolids.”
“The commissioners are always looking for viable clean industries to locate in our county, and we have shown our willingness to promote and assist in anyway we saw possible and appropriate,” Chairman William Rabun said.
However, the board found Flint Logistic’s request inappropriate due to its zoning under the waste management plan.
Originally proposed as a resolution at the June 28 commissioners’ work session, the request was tabled until the August work session by a motion by commissioner Johnny Davis who stated that the board needed more time to assess the situation.
A letter from Flint Logistics co-owner Charlie Westberry was later received, requesting that the commissioners write a letter of non-objection to be included in an application to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) for a permit to accept septage, according to County Administrator Paul Bryan.
“Because of the request at the June meeting, the subsequent letter and comments by Westberry, a meeting with Georgia EPD was set up,” Bryan said at Monday’s work session.
The meeting, held in mid-July with a representative of the Water Protection Branch, was to clarify all issues relating to the permitting process, public meeting requirements, the commissioners’ input and the regulations under which any permit might be issued, Bryan said.
Commissioners Johnny Davis and Tommy New both expressed a need to represent the people of their districts by rejecting Flint Logistic’s request, despite the continuing search for viable industries to come into the community.
The commissioners voted unanimously to place a rejection of the original resolution on the consent agenda for the regular commissioners’ meeting on Thursday, Aug. 10, at 7 p.m.
EPD's Ernie Earns has said that while passing said resolution could possibly hasten permitting, it is possible that such a resolution may not be necessary for permitting.
AYP results in, all area middle schools fulfill requirements
• With raised expectations, JCHS falls short of reaching adequate yearly progress goals in a single category
By Jessica Newberry
The results are in, and Jefferson County public schools are making significant improvement according to the 2005-2006 Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Report.
Although the system itself did not make AYP, overall progress was evident with five out of six schools making AYP in comparison to last year’s three. With the exception of Jefferson County High School (JCHS), each school made AYP in every area including test participation, academic performance and attendance rate. Despite making AYP in test participation and graduation rate, academic performance for all student groups at JCHS did not reach AYP requirements.
Proficiency for student performance in grades three through eight is determined by the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) in reading, English language arts and mathematics. All three Jefferson County elementary schools and both middle schools made AYP for all groups of students. Thirteen of the 18 assessed areas for AYP this year were based on the new Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). These areas included all reading and English language arts and sixth grade math. For the five mathematics areas that were not assigned new standards, the Jefferson County system improved or remained the same in four of the five areas with third grade mathematics down by one percent.
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All three county elementary schools now hold positions as Title I Distinguished Schools. Louisville Academy and Wrens Elementary achieved this status by making AYP for the seventh and fifth consecutive years, respectively. Carver Elementary also joined their ranks this year after making AYP for the third consecutive year.
Both Louisville and Wrens Middle Schools made AYP for this year after not making it in 2004-2005. Although each remains on the Needs Improvement list, achieving AYP next year will return them to normal status as it takes two consecutive years of making AYP to be removed from the list.
“We are particularly proud of the dramatic improvements we made at both middle schools as well as the fact that all three elementary schools are now Title I Distinguished Schools,” said Jefferson County School Superintendent Carl Bethune.
At the high school level, AYP proficiency is decided by the English language arts and mathematics Georgia High school Graduation Tests (GHSGT) administered during eleventh grade. Although overall GHSGT scores were comparable to those of 2004-2005, the enhanced questions embedded in the tests that determine AYP caused Jefferson County High School (JCHS) to not make AYP. For 2005-2006, requirements for making AYP in English language arts moved from 81.6 percent passing to 84.7 and from 62.3 to 68.6 percent in mathematics.
These requirements will increase each year until 2014 when all students will be expected to meet standards.
Graduation rate is also a factor in determining AYP and is based on the percentage of students completing high school with a high school diploma in four years. For 2005-2006, Jefferson County’s rate increased from 66 percent to 75.1 for all students and from 64.1 to 76.6 percent for black students. These rates exceed the state average of 69.5 percent and the national average of approximately 70 percent. JCHS has received national recognition for this achievement and is currently representing the state as one of five Georgia high schools in the Successful Practices Network, a non-profit education group funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The high school graduation rate increase is remarkable in that we have increased the number of required units to graduate from 24 to 28 in order to increase rigor and expectations of our students,” Bethune said. “All of these accomplishments reflect the dedication and hard work of our teachers, support staff and school administrators. We are committed to providing every student the best education possible.”
In an effort to make county-wide AYP next year, several strategies will be implemented for AYP improvement at JCHS including the short-term plan for Reading Across the Curriculum. Teacher will learn how to incorporate reading strategies into the curriculum content areas in order to improve academic performance in these areas as well as increase reading proficiency.
Long-term strategies will include continuing the Writing Across the Curriculum initiative and the third-year implementation of the Algebra That Works (ATW) initiative. The 2006-2007 year will be the first year that all students taking the GHSGT will have participated in the ATW program. A Ninth Grade Academy will also be developed and implemented in an effort to improve reading comprehension in a select group of students by at least two and one half years. These 54 students, who have been selected based on testing results, will receive intensive reading instruction in physical science and world history as well as two language arts classes during their freshman year.