Education

Midstate school districts make gains on key measuring stick

Miller Middle School teacher Jermel Miller helps students in the computer lab practice for the Georgia Milestones test during a Saturday study session in March 2017.
Miller Middle School teacher Jermel Miller helps students in the computer lab practice for the Georgia Milestones test during a Saturday study session in March 2017. bcabell@macon.com

Almost all Middle Georgia school districts showed gains on the state’s latest College and Career Ready Performance Index.

The 2017 report, released Thursday by the Georgia Department of Education, measures schools and districts on a 100-point scale. It looks at achievement and progress and takes into account graduation rates, Georgia Milestones test scores and other data.

Georgia as a whole received a score of 75 for the 2016-17 year, up from 73.6 in 2015-2016. Elementary schools increased from 71.7 to 72.9, middle schools from 71.5 to 73 and high schools from 75.7 to 77.

Bibb County increased from 61.4 to 64.9, with 24 of the schools showing improvement, according to the district. Skyview Elementary, Bernd Elementary and Brookdale elementary schools and Northeast High all made double-digit gains.

Springdale Elementary had the highest CCRPI score with 98.8, followed by the Academy for Classical Education charter school with 91.6 and Skyview Elementary with 91.2. The district’s lowest-scoring schools were Ballard-Hudson Middle School at 47.1 and Appling Middle School at 48.8.

“We were excited to see that the elementary schools improved as an overall group as well as the high schools and the middle schools,” Superintendent Curtis Jones said. “Across the board, it shows that we’re improving in teaching students, students learning and also displaying the type (of) climates that we want our schools to have. We would like to continue to climb. My hope is that all the schools will come within what I call a band of excellence, and we’ll move up to the 70s and then the 80s.”

Houston County rose from 79.5 to 81. Schools leading the pack were Houston County High with a score of 97, Veterans High with 94.6 and Kings Chapel with 92.2. Parkwood Elementary and Houston County Crossroads Center scored lowest, with 55.2 and 59.7, respectively. Kings Chapel Elementary, Tucker Elementary and Houston County High rose by 10 or more points, according to the district.

“We’re very proud of the accomplishment,” Superintendent Mark Scott said. “Just like everybody, we continue to work because there are points in so many areas that often times schools will improve in one area and go down in another. As a district, we’ve continued to improve, and we’re resting about six points above the state average.”

Scott said it’s frustrating and challenging when scores for the previous year don’t come in until halfway through the next school year. But, the district will help schools break down the scores and look at trends so that changes can be made.

Monroe County’s CCRPI score went from 75.5 to 82.4. All five schools were up from last year and had scores in the 70s or 80s.

“We are extremely proud of the continued improvement shown in our school system over the past few years,” Superintendent Mike Hickman said. “This improvement is a direct byproduct of the leadership and guidance of our Board of Education and the commitment and hard work of our students, teachers, leaders and support staff.”

Peach County improved one point to 72.5, and five out of six schools made gains, Superintendent Daryl Fineran said. Two schools are above the state average — Peach County High with 96 and Byron Middle with 86.8 — but the district has to do a better job to get all six of them there. Two of the elementary schools had scores in the 50s.

“I’m always looking for growth from year to year. As long as you’re going up, I feel like that’s progress. We just have to move forward,” Fineran said. “I’m not seeing the growth that I’d like to see in the elementary schools.”

Baldwin County’s CCRPI score increased from 64.4 to 68.1; Bleckley from 83.7 to 86.5; Laurens from 75.1 to 80.5; Wilkinson County from 66.8 to 71.6; and Twiggs County from 58.3 to 65.1. State charter school Cirrus Academy, which opened last year, scored 42.4.

Dublin City schools fell from from 63 to 62.1, and Jones County from 77.8 to 74.9.

“As a district, teachers and school leaders have been working hard since day one of this year, targeting deficient skills, having rich discussions about the students and making curriculum changes to address this decline,” said Clinton Burston, accountability and assessment director for the Jones County district.

Burston said Jones County’s decline was in part due to the increase in the state’s targets for graduation rate, end-of-course and end-of-grade tests, and the elimination of science and social studies testing in third, fourth, sixth and seventh grades as a result of a Senate bill.

The scoring metric of the CCRPI has been adjusted every year since it was implemented in 2012 to account for improvements to the index, changes in state legislation and the gradual implementation of some components, said Meghan Frick, director of communications for the Georgia Department of Education.

The CCRPI index is “almost like a moving target” because it changes every year, Scott said. He hopes that the Every Student Succeeds Act will help make scoring more consistent.

“It’s not about chasing CCRPI score, but at the same time you want your scores and your schools to reflect the work that they’re doing,” Scott said.

How did your school score?

See all the district and school results at ccrpi.gadoe.org/2017/ or www.macon.com/news/local/education/article182322451.html.

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