The list of Georgia schools meeting the state's adequate yearly performance requirements is not as positive as school officials had hoped. Almost every local Georgia school district failed to reach system wide improvement levels.
Educators say there is nothing wrong with local schools. In fact, many districts actually saw fewer of their schools on the needs improvement list, but having just one school on the list, was enough to give the impression that a school district was not heading in the right direction.
The start of school is just a few weeks away in the Peach State, and for nearly every district in our area the adequate yearly progress list gives the impression that local school districts are not making the required improvements.
Steve Smith, Lowndes Superintendent, says, "We're disappointed because our goal was to have no schools on the needs improvement list, but I'm not discouraged. In our case it’s not really the scores themselves, but the lack of progress in improving those scores that's placed us on the list. The higher your scores are, the more difficult it will be to maintain steady progress over a period of years."
There is some good news, especially for Thomasville City and Decatur County school districts, which met the state's progress requirements.
Valdosta City Schools also saw strong improvements, with several schools coming off the list and there could be money available for those schools which did not meet expectations.
Smith adds, "We're just using this as a benchmark to determine where we need to be, and to establish our goals and focus on our goals for the coming school year and hope this time next year we'll be off the list."
The needs improvement list is not an indictment on poor performance, but school system leaders say it almost has that effect on teachers who are now gearing up for a new school year.
If a school has made the needs improvement list two years in a row, students at those schools can transfer to a school not on the list.