Solutions in place for SCCPSS failing schools

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. - The East Broad K-8 is one of the new schools on the list this year, but school officials hope new efforts will improve their score.

"We're all in this together for one thing and that is for the betterment of our students and ensuring that they're fully prepared to move on to the next grade level and ultimately on to college or careers," Kurt Hetager, a Savannah-Chatham Schools spokesman, said.

Recent data released from the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) shows schools like Otis J Brock III Elementary School, Savannah Classical Academy Charter School, West Chatham Middle School, DeRenne Middle School, Southwest Middle School, Myers Middle School, Low Elementary School, Haven Elementary School, Hodge Elementary School, Mercer Middle School and Shuman Elementary School in the 50th and 40th percentile.

Less than 60% for three consecutive years lands a school on the "failing" list.

"It's based on percentage growth of the gap between what the schools score was in the base year to 100," Hetager said.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement tracks chronically failing schools each year with a requirement to grow in that time period.

"Schools are required each year to increase by 3% to increase that baseline gap and that is actually the measuring stick that is the bases for our current school contract that we have with the state on the flexibility waiver," Hetager said.

That strategic wavier contract with the state provides specific resources to close the 3% gap and improve the school's performance.

"We know that in utilizing this data it provides district leadership," Hetager said. "A great way to really focus in on schools that need the most help and need the most interventions and that need the most resources."

School performance is crucial right now because state lawmakers are considering a bill that would turn failing schools over to the state.

"It does create a Chief Turnaround Officer, which would work with schools that they deem on the chronically failing schools list," Hetager said.

But again, if that happens, the school district loses control.

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