Arnall, Evans, Jefferson Parkway cited as Title I 'Reward' schools
From Staff Reports
Three Coweta County Title I schools have been identified by the Georgia Department of Education as “High Progress” Reward schools.
Jefferson Parkway, Arnall Middle School and Evans Middle School were recognized by the state Wednesday in the “Reward” category, according to an announcement from the school system.
“These schools are shining examples of what we can achieve in public education in Georgia,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I want to take what’s working at our Reward Schools and replicate that in every school in the state. These are the schools making education work for all Georgians.”
The state recognizes two categories of reward schools, including:
• A “High-Progress School” is a Title I school among the 10 percent of Title I schools in the state that is making the most progress in improving the performance of the “all students” group over three years on the statewide assessments. A school may not be classified as a High-Progress School if there are significant achievement gaps across subgroups that are not closing in the school.
A “Highest-Performing School” is a Title I school among the 5 percent of Title I schools in the state that has the highest absolute performance over three years for the “all students” group on the statewide assessments. A Highest-Performing School must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the “all students” group and all of its subgroups in 2011. A school may not be classified as a Highest-Performing School if there are significant achievement gaps across subgroups that are not closing in the school.
The Reward designation goes only to Title I schools. Eighteen of Coweta’s 28 regular program elementary, middle and high schools receive federal Title I funding. Non-Title I schools are not eligible for Reward designation.
“We congratulate the teachers, parents, staff and students at these three schools for their hard work and success,” said Superintendent Steve Barker. “It is always nice for a school to be recognized for their focus on academic achievement.”
“We were very pleased to be recognized as a High Progress School,” said Arnall Principal Jan Franks. “Using data from three years shows our continued growth in student achievement. We knew we had shown growth in our CRCT test scores over the past four years, but as the state has moved from AYP status for schools to the new CCRPI distinction.”
“We were unsure how we would fare when compared to other Title I schools in Georgia. It was a great honor to have our students, teachers, parents and staff recognized for the hard work they do every day,” said Franks.
Evans Principal Melissa Wimbish was excited to receive the news of the distinction. “Since only a small percentage of Title I Schools in Georgia would be named Reward Schools, it was hard to determine where Evans Middle would fall on the list. This honor is a result of the teamwork and dedication of the staff, students, and parents joining together to ensure educational success.”
“Our CRCT scores in all subgroups have been on the rise due to the teachers and students staying focused on the core business,” said Wimbish. Wimbish added that Evan’s success over the past three years is attributable in part to things such as morning tutoring, extended day classes, grade repair opportunities for students, teacher and student mentor programs, teacher collaboration and professional learning opportunities for teachers. “All students are held to high expectations and encouraged to work to their best potential each day.”
“When I first read the news, I was helping a fourth grade student, in my office, with some math problems. We were sitting at my conference table and my initial reaction was, ‘Yes!’” said Jefferson Parkway Elementary Principal Sean Dye. “The student thought that I was either excited about the problem or that I was crazy!”
“I give all of the credit for this recognition to my faculty, staff, students and parents for the great work they all do in helping Jefferson Parkway move forward despite all of the changes in the standards, the curriculum, and the requirements of teaching and testing. The teachers at JP work extremely hard and pour their heart and soul in to what they teach and how they prepare our students,” said Dye.
Other categories under the state’s ESEA waiver include Priority, Focus and Alert schools, indicating Title I schools which need greater focus on student academic achievement. No Coweta schools were designated as Priority, Focus or Alert Schools.
Coweta’s three Reward schools place them in the company of only a small number of high-performing Title I schools state-wide.