Remediation program successful, Bibb school officials say

The Bibb County school system’s new spring intervention program, which provided remediation for students who failed state exams near the end of the school year, proved successful, school officials said Thursday.

In January, the school board voted to switch to a spring intervention program in lieu of a traditional summer school program, which would save the system about $700,000. Results from retests showed that improvements in test scores were comparable to results after the traditional summer school preparation.

“My students did very well,” said Rutland Middle School principal Jerri Hall. “You didn’t have to worry about them having to get to school. Sometimes in summer school, there were issues with transportation and vacations.”

Given a tight budget year, officials didn’t have to hire teachers to work in June, and the move saved building electricity costs.

Before the 2008-09 school year, students who failed the state Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests — especially third-, fifth- and eighth-graders who must pass the exam for promotion — were encouraged to attend summer school and retake the exam in the summer.

But school officials had argued that not all students came. And many students sent to summer school were being sent to an unfamiliar building with unfamiliar teachers and weren’t always successful.

According to this year’s CRCT retest results, overall more Bibb students passed the CRCT this year compared to last year.

The results also show that students who took part in the spring intervention program made as much improvement as the summer school model.

“All students were affected — that was the greatest piece,” said Cathy Magouyrk, the system’s new deputy superintendent for teaching and learning.

Under the system’s new spring intervention program, students who failed the CRCT were provided remediation from April 27 to May 22, as well as all students, at their home school.

Students were separated into either remedial or accelerated courses in math and reading, and those who needed help also took computer labs that helped them improve in weak subject areas.

Seventy-three percent of teachers surveyed after the spring intervention liked the program better, school officials said.

“Sometimes in education we all see we do this one year and don’t do it again. I would hope we do it again this (coming school) year,” said board member Susan Middleton.

Magouyrk said school officials will meet with principals this fall to evaluate whether school officials want to move forward again with the program.

Other school systems — including Houston, Crawford, Baldwin and Jones — also switched to similar intervention models this year as well, mostly for cost savings measures. Houston saved about a half-million dollars in the switch.

To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.