As Georgia prepares to give No Child Left Behind the boot, Richmond County schools are figuring out alternative solutions. (WRDW-TV / Feb. 16, 2012)
News 12 This Morning / Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- No Child Left Behind is getting the boot in Georgia schools.
In Richmond County, the district is gearing up for a new approach.
Paula Kaminski, principal of Garrett Elementary School, said they were excited to see the program end.
"The focus now is much broader," said Carol Rountree, executive director of the Richmond County School System.
Taking its place in our state is the College and Career Ready Performance Index.
"They will see we begin to report out how elementary schools are working toward career readiness," Rountree explained.
The focus will shift to understanding and exploring different career paths, and in high school, an emphasis on deciding on a career instead of just a major.
"You have to maintain the rigor. There must be standards that are in place," Rountree said.
The new evaluation system will take a wider range of subjects, including social studies and science science scores, into account.
Some of the higher standards concern Kaminski.
"We've compared our numbers to what the states have given us. We are kind of worried with that for next year. [We are] hoping we can get more clarification to know what we need to do to be more successful," she said.
Under the new categories, a school can be a "reward" school and be high performing, an "alert" school that will need more attention and support or somewhere in between, based on things like their graduation rate and a composite of their CRCT scores.
"The standardized testing will not go away," Rountree said. "It is still going to be a part but won't be the one focus that sort of looms at you."
The difference doesn't mean a pass or fail grade for schools. Instead it gives schools greater flexibility when it comes to getting federal dollars and more support from the state level.
The Richmond County School Board is looking into some of the goals schools have to meet with the new waiver. Some percentages for testing are slightly higher than what schools had to meet for AYP. The board is still waiting for details from the state on how schools will accumulate points toward a certain ranking. Rountree says districts will have more time to meet certain benchmarks. They are looking at 2017 right now.
Schools will start being identified as early as September of next semester.