News & Press

Middle Georgia schools among best in state

Schools in 10 Middle Georgia counties are among the highest performing or most improved in the state.

The Georgia Department of Education this week named the state’s high-achieving schools, known as Reward Schools. The designation is part of the state’s waiver from meeting federal No Child Left Behind accountability requirements.

Under the No Child Left Behind legislation, schools meeting standards were said to be making Adequate Yearly Progress, while those that weren’t were known as Needs Improvement schools.

Under terms of the waiver, approved by the U.S. Department of Education in February, struggling schools are now designated as either Priority, Focus or Alert Schools, while top schools are deemed Reward Schools.

“These schools are shining examples of what we can achieve in public education in Georgia,” state school Superintendent John Barge said in a news release. “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.”

Schools can receive the Reward Schools designation in one of two ways. The 79 schools in the “Highest Performance” category are in Georgia’s top 5 percent based on state tests for students as a whole over a three-year period. Those schools have also achieved Adequate Yearly Progress among all students and subgroups in the past three years.

Bibb County’s Alexander II Magnet School, Bleckley County Elementary School, Houston County’s Shirley Hills Elementary School and Northwest Laurens Elementary are all local Highest Performance schools.

Georgia’s 157 “High Progress” schools, meanwhile, are among the top 10 percent where students as a whole made progress on state tests the past three years.

Middle Georgia’s High Progress schools are Howard High School, Bloomfield Middle School, Ballard-Hudson Middle School and Bernd Elementary school, all in Bibb County; Crawford County High School; Dooly County High School; Jones County High School; Macon County High School; Jeffersonville Elementary School and Twiggs Middle School in Twiggs County and Upson-Lee North High School in Upson County.

All Reward Schools are Title I schools -- which serve high populations of low-income students -- and neither category includes schools that aren’t making progress in narrowing major achievement gaps among subgroups during a three-year period.

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