WJBF EXTRA: Investing In Educational Excellence

WJBF EXTRA: Investing In Educational Excellence (Image 1)

Georgia School Districts are making a choice when it comes to your child’s education. Every district must choose a flexibilty option by June 30th.

Burke County is still weighing its options, but Columbia County, Lincoln County, McDuffie County, and Richmond County are all choosing I.E.2

In this WJBF EXTRA report, our Deon Guillory explains what that system option means for your child.

The school year is almost over, but Richmond County school leaders are looking ahead to the fall. The school district has chosen flexibility option I.E.2.

“We would, as a district, enter into a contract with the state department of education. As far as how we would make student achievement progress at each school,” said Helen Minchew, who is president of the Richmond County Board of Education.

Investing in Educational Excellence is what I.E.2 means. This would involve every school in Richmond County and the school system would put together a plan on how it will achieve those goals.

Schools would be based on CCRPI (College and Career Readiness Performance Index), which is a yearly measurement done by the state for each school in every district, giving a picture of each school’s achievement levels on many factors, not just test scores.

“The ideal is 100. So, if you were a school that had a CCRPI of 60, your gap is 40, there’s a gap of 40 in between. So, 3 percent of that would be, they gave an example is 1.2, and so, that first year after the baseline, that school should reach 61.2 and after that they should get that 1.2 each year and at least 3 times in that 5 years. If you meet those goals, then the contract can be renewed,” said Pine Hill Middle School Principal Glenda Collingsworth.

School leaders say this is for individual schools, not the school system as a whole, because some schools have more challenges than others and I.E.2 will hold them accountable.

“So, many people want to know that their money is being used in the right way and, like you said, it’s showing results?” we questioned Minchew. “Results, yes, and it gives us that flexibility to work to try with each of our different schools to try and get those results,” she answered. “Because every school’s needs are different?” we asked. “Yes, they very much are different, even within one county,” she answered.

Minchew says Superintendent Dr. Angela Pringle and her staff are sitting down to prepare a plan to present to the Georgia Department of Education.

Those goals will begin with the 2015-2016 school year.

If you want to read more about the I.E.2 system option, just click here.

Students at Pine Hill Middle School are ready for the end of the school year, but their principal is looking ahead to the fall when I.E.2 goes into effect.

“It’s in alignment with what Richmond County is already working on, as far as setting goals,” Collingsworth said.

Collingsworth was on a committee of more than 30 people, including school staff, parents and community business leaders to help decide on choosing I.E.2 as the flexibility option for the Richmond County School System.

“For parents who are still confused, what would you say to them about this system, about I.E.2?” we asked Minchew. “Of the three choices that each school district in Georgia had, it was the I.E.2, it was the charter school system, and it was status quo. We felt that the I.E.2 actually gave us more flexibility,” she answered.

The flexibility to innovate – it’s a component to this option to help schools achieve whatever goals are set and parents could see some excitement back in the classroom.

“I think they will see more excitement with their kids, with some of these activities and things coming in place, and maybe more support for them because we are also looking to support our parents in educating them in the different resources,” Collingsworth said.

The changes might look a little different in each school, but the goals are the same, to increase student achievement.

The school systems must achieve their goals at least three times during a five year contract with the state. Richmond County will explain its targets at the beginning of next school year.

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