October 17, 2005
Many Columbia County parents are just finding out some schools did not make the requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind Act last spring. They’re for attendance and standardized testing for elementary and middle schools. For high schools, it’s the Georgia High School graduation test scores and graduation rates. News 12 is on your side with ways they plan to turn things around.
Students must perform well in math and language arts to meet Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP. Teacher Shirley Holston recently joined Harlem Middle School to help the ones who don’t. Her only priority is to get students more confident to pass this test.
“Almost every child feels already defeated when it comes to math. So the first nine weeks is about me saying you can do it and showing them they can do it,” Holston said.
Some HMS students did not meet the minimum score required on the annual standardized testing. Of the approximately 450 students that go to Harlem Middle School, about 90 need a little extra help. That means about thirty-five of their teachers mentor students one-on-one.
AYP is tracked by different subgroups: ethnicity, level of poverty, English proficiency and students with disabilities. Assistant Superintendent Sandra Carraway says the schools with groups that fall behind are required to have an improvement plan.
“In some of our schools, our students with special needs have not performed as well as they should have,” Carraway said.
But HMS Principal Walker Davis is confident that the mentors and new math teacher will turn things around for the ninety students who are not performing at grade level.
“I have a lot of confidence in our teachers. I know they’re working hard and doing everything they can,” Davis said.
Shirley Holston’s 78 students she teaches daily are on their way.
“They’re at a point now where they’re convinced they can do it, so it’s easier,” Holston said.
A dedicated teacher who won’t stop until the students succeed.
Some other schools on the list are Evans Middle School, Grovetown Middle and Harlem High. If a school doesn’t meet requirements two years in a row, it goes on a ‘Needs Improvement’ list and have to show another two years worth of improvement before getting off the list.