Dalton, Morris also show improvement
Dalton Public Schools’ elementary school average was 74.4 (up from 73.8), while the middle school average was 72.2 (up from 68.5). Dalton High School received a score of 79.8 (up from 79.5), while Morris Innovative High School received a 40.3 (up from 34.2).
Laura Orr, who oversees assessment for Dalton schools, said despite Morris’ low score, the school is heading in the right direction.
Local educators have defended the school, the focus of scrutiny last year for its low CCRPI, because they say it offers an option for teenagers looking for more individualized learning. Orr said those students often come from unstable families, are struggling with pregnancy or raising a child, or are juggling demanding jobs. That’s something that isn’t going to be “reflected on paper,” she said.
Morris started out offering online classes and has moved into focusing on getting students on-the-job experience, often changing curriculum, focus and leadership.
“I just think that our philosophy is that, with Morris and all our schools, you have to look at all pieces of information,” Orr said. “It can’t just be graduation rates or a single testing day. We have to look at a lot of other things.”
One example Orr used was Morris students who don’t graduate on time. The CCRPI requires students to get their high school diploma in four years for the school to get good marks. Orr said those students who take longer to graduate shouldn’t be discounted because they don’t meet a state standard.
“This is a unique population of kids who are not as typical as students in a comprehensive high school like Dalton High,” she said. “We are dealing with human beings. They don’t always follow the typical paths.”
Murray County ‘outperforming’ region, state
Murray County Schools is “outperforming” the area and state for the second time, Superintendent Vickie Reed said. Murray elementary schools averaged 79.2 (up from 74.6), while middle schools had an average of 77.4 (up from 71.3). North Murray High School received a score of 78.2 (up from 72.9), while Murray County High School received a 83.2 (up from 78.5).
Reed said such success is a result of focusing on Common Core.
“With everyday instruction, we have been — you know, with the roll out with the Common Core last year, there has been a lot of training at the school level,” she said. “Training on the standards. We tell our teachers that we are focused on teaching those standards.”
Reed said she isn’t focused on the controversy of Common Core. Some parents and teachers believe it gives the federal government too much influence on curriculum and that it’s been a headache to implement.
“I can’t speak for other systems. I can only speak for Murray,” she said. “And we expect our teachers to teach the standards. And I just feel we’ve had lots of support from the state, you know, helping us train teachers on how to teach those standards correctly.”
Reed said the CCRPI reported that students, mostly Hispanic, who are learning English as a second language are struggling on English tests.
“We need to focus on that,” she said. “They are doing middle of the road on it, at all grade levels. So we’re looking at what we can do to help that group of students.”
For a full listing of CCRPI scores, visit www.gadoe.org/ccrpi/Pages/default.aspx.