Last week, Georgia State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox released the results of Georgia’s performance on the state’s basic skills tests. At her announcement, she praised Fair Street Elementary School in Gainesville for its continued improvements in academic achievement. The school has many low–income children and many English language learners. Under No Child Left Behind, the school has made large achievement gains and continues to prove that if children are held to high standards, they will meet them. The following are excerpts from an article in the Gainesville Times (GA):
“State Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox singled out Gainesville’s Fair Street Elementary School [last] Wednesday as she hailed the state’s performance on this past spring’s basic–skills tests. ‘Their achievement, their progress is almost off the charts,’ Cox said while giving her annual report on the Criterion–Referenced Competency Tests results to the state Board of Education.
“Despite high poverty and children learning English as a second language, the school is making big gains on the test that plays heavily into whether third–graders and fifth–graders are promoted. According to data provided by Gainesville City Schools, the percentage of third–graders passing the CRCT’s reading portion rose to 94 percent from 76 percent in 2003–04. The percentage of fifth–graders passing the CRCT’s reading portion rose to 91 percent from 75 percent in 2003–04; math, 88 percent from 78 percent.
“Cox told the school board that the entire school system tests students on material before and after each nine weeks, then provides extra help to students who aren’t picking up what is taught. Board member Peggy Nielson, who represents Southwest Georgia, said she believes Gainesville is ‘very aggressive’ in educating its non–English–speaking population, children and adults alike. ‘You’ve been a real model for us,’ she said.”
“It wasn’t too long ago that Fair Street was struggling academically. The state had labeled it as ‘needs improvement,’ but now it has made ‘adequate yearly progress’ for the past four years.”
“Cox beamed as she gave the state’s results on the 2005 CRCT. She presented statistics that showed students in third, fourth and fifth grades making big gains in the passing rate. She described progress among students with disabilities as ‘absolutely amazing.’ ‘The achievement gap is closing among all groups of students,’ she said.”
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