Tifton Gazette

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December 10, 2013

TCHS, CSE get just 'rewards'

TIFTON — Tift County High School and Charles Spencer Elementary School have been recognized as Title I Reward schools, announced Tammie Smith, director of federal programs, at Tuesday night’s Tift County Board of Education meeting.

According to Smith, this is part of Georgia’s waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. She informed board members that instead of having AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) status, now schools are classified as a reward, priority, focus or alert school.

She explained why TCHS and Charles Spencer were identified as reward schools by the state. She said they are  "High-Progress” reward schools.

“A Title I school that is recognized for this is in (the) top 10 percent of Title I schools in the state making the most progress in approving performance and the ‘all students’ category over a period of three consecutive years,” Smith said, noting they could not be identified as a priority, focus or alert school to receive this recognition.

She added that for TCHS, the state looked at the EOCT (End of Course Test) scores in the all students category in all subjects for 2010, 2011 and 2012. Their average progress was 3.55 percent for each of those years. That’s in the top 10 percent in the state, she noted.

Smith said for Charles Spencer, the state averaged CRCT (Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests) scores for all students in all subjects for the same years, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Their average progress was 3.28 percent.

Holding up the plaque they received which hangs in their front office, TCHS principal Kim Seigler said, “This represents the work of TCHS, but it also represents the work of all of our other schools. We recognize that this is not just what we do on a day-to-day basis. It’s what this system does.” She thanked the board for what they do and their support.

“I think this is a community effort and we appreciate that so much,” she said.

Also, Charles Spencer staff thanked the board for their support, as well as the community, and noted that they also recognize they couldn’t have achieved their reward school status without other schools in the system. The teachers were thanked as well.

Smith noted the only other schools in the area that were on the list included Camden County, Lee County and Fitzgerald high schools, and Dougherty County had some primary and middle schools on the list.

Chairwoman Kim Rutland congratulated and thanked the group for what they do and always going above and beyond.

Also, Dr. Gina Cox, student services director, introduced David John, coordinator of the Georgia Youth Challenge Academy. He explained that the program has been around for almost 20 years. They have two locations — Fort Stewart and Fort Gordon. The academy is federally- and state-funded, and doesn’t cost anything for the participants, who must volunteer on their own.

The academy was established in 1993. Training is a 17-month voluntary program with a 5 1/2-month residential phase and a 12-month mentoring phase. It’s a tobacco-and drug-free program and focuses on personal growth, academic achievement and self-improvement.

Cox told board members they are hoping they can have this available as a resource for parents who are at the end of their ropes and looking for alternatives for their children who consistently have behavioral and discipline problems in school.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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