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Georgia Recognized for Improving Low-Performing Schools

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,  mcardoza@gadoe.org   - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook         December 16, 2009  – Georgia is one of six states recognized in a recent report published by the Center on Educational Policy entitled  Improving Low Performing Schools: Lessons from Five Years of Studying School Restructuring under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) . Georgia was highlighted in the report for its policy on restructuring of schools in the most severe status of Needs Improvement levels 5 and above.       “This report illustrates that Georgia’s strategies for improving low-performing schools are working,” said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. “Many of these once very low-performing schools are experiencing incredible gains in student achievement.”        As part of Georgia's Differentiated Accountability Plan, each school in Needs Improvement level five and above has a full-time state director that works in the school ensuring that faculty, staff, and students do what is necessary to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). That includes providing observations and professional development for teachers, academic coaches, and administrators. The state directors work to help the schools implement strategies and policies that can be sustained after the school has been removed from State-Directed status so the schools continue to make AYP.        At its November meeting, the State Board of Education and Superintendent Cox recognized 17 of these State-Directed schools for being removed from Needs Improvement status. With the help and guidance of the state directors placed in these schools, the administrators and teachers were able to implement strategies that helped their schools do what once seemed impossible and make AYP two years in a row.       “Each of these schools had several factors in common that helped them come ‘off the list,’” said Superintendent Cox. “They had a great principal who focused on instruction and provided job-embedded professional development. The teachers worked closely with each other to share lesson plans and strategies. And, each of these schools renewed its focus on teaching rigorous state standards to all students with an understanding of students' individual needs.”    MORE INFORMATION:     17 State-Directed Schools Removed from Needs Improvement Status:   Kennedy Middle, Atlanta Public Schools  Long Middle, Atlanta Public Schools  Oak Hill Middle, Baldwin County  Bryan County Middle, Bryan County  Henderson Middle, Butts County  Crawford County Middle, Crawford County  Merry Acres Middle, Dougherty County  Franklin County Middle, Franklin County  East Hall Middle, Hall County  Mitchell County Middle, Mitchell County  Clements Middle, Newton County  Pelham City Middle, Pelham City  Morgan Road Middle, Richmond County  Spirit Creek Middle, Richmond County  Tubman Middle, Richmond County  Upson-Lee Middle, Thomaston-Upson Schools  MacIntyre Park Middle, Thomasville City   Photo of principals from the 17 State-Directed Schools with Superintendent Cox :  http://gadoe.shutterfly.com/1592     Full CEP Report -  http://tinyurl.com/GaCEPdoc