At-risk Bibb schools among highest, lowest performing in state

jmink@macon.comNovember 12, 2013 

  • Midstate alert, reward schools

    Alert Schools:
    Bibb County: Bruce Elementary, Williams Elementary

    Reward Schools, Highest Progress:
    Bibb County: Bernd Elementary, Burdell Elementary, Appling Middle, Bloomfield Middle
    Crawford County: Crawford County Middle, Crawford County High
    Twiggs County: Jeffersonville Elementary, Twiggs Middle

    Reward Schools, Highest Performance:
    Bibb County: Alexander II Magnet School
    Houston County: Kings Chapel Elementary, Linwood Elementary, Shirley Hills Elementary
    Monroe County: T.G. Scott Elementary

As the state released Tuesday its list of some of the lowest and highest performing at-risk schools, Bibb County was a mixed bag. Meanwhile, schools in Houston, Monroe, Twiggs and Crawford counties were listed among some of the highest performing.

Two Bibb County schools have been identified as among the lowest performing in the state, and five are among the highest performing Title I schools for 2013, according to information from the Georgia Department of Education.

The state dubs low-performing schools “alert schools” and schools that perform at top levels as “reward schools.”

Bruce and Williams elementary schools have been identified as alert schools. Williams Elementary was deemed an alert school because the achievement rate of its economically disadvantaged students was significantly below the state average for that group on the statewide exam. Additionally, Williams scored significantly below the state average in math and science, according to a news release.

Bruce Elementary was put on alert status for scoring below the state average in reading, according to the news release.

The district is reviewing its support system for students in subgroups, such as economically disadvantaged students, and is developing new benchmarks and learning strategies to increase achievement at those schools, Sylvia Hooker, Bibb County deputy superintendent for school improvement, said in a news release.

“We are certainly proud of our reward schools, and we are addressing the needs of our alert schools,” she said.

There are no specific consequences for alert schools, but the state’s school improvement team offers support by helping the school design and implement a process for improvement, education department spokesman Matt Cardoza said in an email to The Telegraph. The state also provides schools with tools, resources and professional learning, he said.

While any school can be put on alert status, only Title I schools are considered for reward status in an attempt to monitor at-risk schools. Title I schools receive federal financial assistance and have a high percentage of students from low-income families.

When selecting schools for reward status, state officials classify them as high-performing and high-progress schools.

In Bibb County, Alexander II Magnet School is a reward school for highest performance, meaning it is among the top 5 percent of Title I schools that had the best performance on state tests over three years.

Burdell Elementary, Bernd Elementary, Bloomfield Middle and Appling Middle schools are reward schools for highest progress. Those schools are among the top 10 percent of Title I schools and have made the most improvement on state tests over the past three years.

“We are excited about the progress these schools are making. ... It demonstrates that working together, we can accomplish our goals of success,” Bibb County interim Superintendent Steven Smith said in a news release.

Other area schools were among the highest performing.

Linwood, Kings Chapel and Shirley Hills elementary schools in Houston County; and T.G. Scott Elementary School in Monroe County are reward schools for highest performance.

“It shows that what we do in Houston County, what we’re implementing, works,” Houston County Superintendent Robin Hines said. “Couple that with a good plan and the best teachers you will find anywhere, and these are the types of results you get.”

Jeffersonville Elementary and Twiggs Middle School in Twiggs County, and Crawford Middle and Crawford High school in Crawford County, are among the reward schools for highest progress.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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