The Newton County School System failed to meet required standards for adequate yearly progress for the 2009-2010 school year according to preliminary results released Monday by the Georgia Department of Education. Eight individual schools in the system failed to make AYP, including Newton High School.
"Our results are not what they should be now, nor what they will be in the future," said Superintendent Dr. Gary Mathews. "An eternal optimist, I'm confident that if we systematically examine our data for strengths and weaknesses, understand and implement best practices with fidelity at the school district and classroom level, our students will be the benefactors," he said. "But, first, real school improvement begins with looking in the mirror as we will not be a system which looks out the window for all of the outside factors that bind our hands. Improvement begins with each of us, a student at a time."
According to the GDOE, 29 percent of all Georgia schools failed to meet AYP for the 2009-2010 school year.
At the high school level statewide, roughly 67 percent failed to make AYP, up from 53 percent last year. The state's middle schools had a 33 percent failure rate, compared to 25 percent last year. Elementary schools had a 15.5 percent fail rate, up from 10 percent in the 2009-2010 school year.
All schools in neighboring Rockdale County met AYP, but Henry County did not, with 18 schools failing to meet the standard.
AYP is a reflection of each school's performance in several criteria: the percentage of students who take the test and a percentage of students meeting standards in reading/language arts and mathematics. For elementary and middle school students, the percentage of student absenteeism is counted; for high schools student graduation rate is counted.
Additionally, the performance of several subgroups is also analyzed. Student disabilities, economic status, race/ethnicity, and limited English proficiency are reviewed, and if any of the subgroups fail to meet the criteria, the school will not meet AYP - even if the school as a whole meets the criteria.
For Middle Ridge Elementary and Cousins, Indian Creek, Liberty and Veterans Memorial middle schools, failure to meet AYP was due to the academic performance of the students within the disabilities subgroup, not the school as a whole. At Ficquett Elementary, the failure was due to the scores of students with disabilities and those considered to be economically disadvantaged.
At Newton High School and Porterdale Elementary School, failure to make AYP was the result of school-wide scores in math, as well as performance of black and economically disadvantaged students. Performance of students with disabilities was also a factor at NHS.
For Ficquett, this is the second year in a row the school did not make AYP, meaning it now will be listed on the Needs Improvement list and must offer supplemental services for students.
Middle Ridge Elementary did make AYP last year but needed to make it a second year in a row in order to be removed from the Needs Improvement list. As a result, it must continue to offer school choice. Parents will be notified and students who are zoned for the school will have the option of attending either Heard-Mixon or East Newton.
Although Porterdale Elementary did not meet AYP for the 2009-2010 school year, it did make AYP in the 2008-2009 school year and will not be placed on the Needs Improvement list.
The recently dissolved Clements Theme School was the only middle school in the county that did meet AYP; the other four middle schools did not meet it due to the students with disabilities subgroup.
For Cousins, this is the second year in a row it did not meet AYP. It also will be placed on the Needs Improvement list and offer students supplemental services.
Indian Creek failed to meet AYP for a third consecutive year. The failure was due to poor math performance in the students with disabilities subgroup. The school is on the Needs Improvement list and must offer school choice to either Clements or Liberty.
Liberty and Veterans Memorial failed to make AYP due to the students with disabilities performance in math and English/language arts. However, it has not failed consecutive years and will not be placed on the Needs Improvement list.
Newton High will not be placed on the Needs Improvement list. It failed both school-wide and subgroup (black, students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged) in math, and students with disabilities failed the English/language arts portion.
East Newton, Heard-Mixon, Livingston, Live Oak, Mansfield, Oak Hill, Palmer-Stone, Rocky Plains, South Salem and West Newton elementary schools all made AYP, as did Clements Middle, Fairview Theme, Challenge Charter Academy, Eastside and Alcovy High schools.
NCSS offered retests to students who did not pass reading or math in the CRCT tests. AYP results will be updated after this data is tabulated. It is possible that schools may pass once the latest test data is reviewed.
For a more complete breakdown of each school's performance, visit http://www.newtoncountyschools.org/about/ayp.asp