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Forsyth schools fare well on annual district report cards

FORSYTH COUNTY — Forsyth County schools were handed their own report cards Tuesday when the Georgia Department of Education released the College and Career Ready Performance Index.

The scores, based on data from the 2013-14 school year, saw state averages decline while Forsyth County’s climbed. Districtwide, elementary schools averaged a 90 on the most recent CCRPI scores, an increase from 88.7 in 2013. The district high school average rose from 85.5 to 85.7.

State averages fell in the other direction, with Georgia’s elementary schools posting a decrease in scores from 77.8 to 72.6, middle schools from 74.6 to 73.2 and high schools from 71.8 to 68.4.

Middle schools in Forsyth declined from 91.6 to 91.5, but school district officials said those scores may not be correct. The system is checking with the state and those marks could change to show positive growth.

In a news release, Georgia School Superintendent John Barge said the state’s falling CCRPI scores are disappointing, but “not unexpected. This index is still relatively new and demands different areas of focus for our schools.”

The CCRPI is Georgia’s statewide accountability system, implemented in 2012 to replace the No Child Left Behind adequate yearly progress measurement after the U.S. Department of Education granted Georgia and nine other states, initially, a waiver.

It measures schools and districts on a standardized 100-point scale, “helping parents and the public better understand how schools are performing in a more comprehensive manner than the pass/fail system previously in place under AYP.”

Scores are marked up to 60 points based on achievement, up to 25 points on progress and up to 15 point on an achievement gap. Schools can also receive up to 10 challenge points, which are awarded in correlation to numbers of economically disadvantaged students, students for whom English is a second language and those meeting expectations who have disabilities.

With each area added up, every school except Forsyth’s iAchieve Virtual Academy topped the state average. It missed the mark by just .2 percentage points.

“The state went one way,” said Karl Mercer, the local school district’s director of accountability, “and we went the other way.”

Forsyth County topped all other metro area districts, who house the largest school systems in the state. Oconee County was the only system that scored higher overall, but they only have two high schools, both of which are smaller than Forsyth’s, he said.

He said he thinks that second-place ranking may change if Forsyth’s middle school scores are changed.


Elementary school scores


Five elementary schools — Brookwood, Coal Mountain, Cumming, Kelly Mill and Sharon — improved from last year.

Cumming Elementary made the largest gains in the district, 9.5 percentage points, moving from 75.9 to 85.4. That was nearly three times as much as any other school.

Every elementary placed in the top 50th percentile of such schools across the state, with eight in the top 90th percentile and 16 in the top 25th percentile, according to Mercer.


Middle schools


In middle schools, Lakeside, North Forsyth, Otwell and Piney Grove all saw improvement from 2013.

Seven of the nine middle schools — iAchieve did not have a CCRPI score for that level this year — were in the top 10th percentile, with all schools in the top 25th percentile, Mercer said.


High schools


Forsyth Central High was the only traditional high school to mark an improvement from 2013, reaching 80 from 76.7, while iAchieve’s high school improved from 68.8 to 71.8.

All high schools were in the top 20th percentile, Mercer said. South Forsyth and Lambert h were in the top fifth percentile in the state.

Mercer said it was nice to see high school scores improve overall in light of the analytic geometry and coordinate algebra tests, newer assessments that were more rigorous and foreshadowed lower scores.

However, while scores until now measured only math and English/language arts, the pioneer year of Georgia Milestones assessments — which will replace the Criterion Referenced Competency and End of Course tests — will cover eight subjects.

Moving forward, Mercer said district administrators will be reviewing scores to determine “how we will guide work at each school.” They plan to meet with the various staffs to find an individualized path.

“A lot of school improvement goals are based on these scores,” Mercer said. “If we have that conversation with all of the schools, it does better as a district for us.”