Five DeKalb schools recognized for raising achievement above state academic expectations.

Five schools in the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) have increased student achievement levels enough to exit the state’s Focus and Priority lists for underperforming Title I schools.

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) has announced that the following DCSD schools have significantly raised their students’ academic performance and are no longer Focus or Priority schools:

  • Allgood Elementary School – Focus
  • Bob Mathis Elementary School – Focus
  • Columbia Middle School – Focus
  • Kelley Lake Elementary School – Focus
  • Redan High School – Priority

“We cannot be prouder of these five schools for meeting the promise our district has made to the community: all students will learn, and reach new heights in their education. Each of those schools embraced the task and took the necessary steps to write the story of their turnaround,” said Superintendent, Dr. R. Stephen Green. “The most exciting part is that work is now underway to become even better.”

Unique Instructional Services for School Improvement

The District’s intensive focus on school turnaround has been met with consistent student academic growth at these five schools, year-over-year, for the past three years. The DeKalb County School District has implemented unique programs and services to remove these Priority and Focus school designations. Concentrated and intensive services were provided by the school district and were specifically designed for all students at Priority and Focus schools:

  • New, on-demand student assessments now provide immediate feedback to school leaders, teachers, as wells parents on the academic progress of all students. Schools can now determine weekly how to assist students who are most in need.
  • All teachers receive intensive training to help learn the skills necessary to help all students at Priority and Focus schools succeed, including training for working with diverse students and students with major learning needs. Teachers sometimes work an extended day each month in order to receive focused training on the most successful teaching strategies.
  • Schools receive direct support for reading and writing through DeKalb’s Literacy Initiative. A specialized team of experts in literacy has been assigned to assist Priority and Focus schools with raising the reading and writing abilities of all students.
  • All students in Priority and Focus schools receive a very unique approach to mastering mathematics by using DeKalb’s Mathematics Modules – a specialized team of highly qualified educators work with these schools daily on training teachers on how to deliver powerful mathematics instruction that yields high student achievement.
  • Strategic financial planning is implemented at these schools and provides specialized staff and experts who ensure teachers and students have the additional academic support needed, including Academic Coaches, Instructional Support Specialists, and Parent Liaisons.
  • Specialized student tutorial programs are offered after school, during the school week, to assist students most in need through small group tutoring.
  • Each student has a personalized education plan (Response to Intervention or RtI) that outlines the unique educational services each individual student will receive to help them achieve the greatest learning gains possible.

About Priority and Focus Schools

Focus Schools are campuses that rank in the lowest 10 percent of schools statewide based on a three-year average of Achievement Gap scores. To advance above that level, a school must demonstrate a 2.5-point increase in that three-year average.

Priority Schools are campuses that rank in the lowest five percent of schools statewide based on a three-year average of Content Mastery scores, along with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent for two consecutive years. To advance above that level, a school must demonstrate a 5-point increase in that three-year average and have a graduation rate above 60 percent.