"In our judgment ... the high school, under the block schedule, will be challenged to meet some of this criteria," Hinesley said.
Hinesley recently met with Parent Teacher Committees at the middle school and high school to discuss the transition, saying there were questions about what the change means for employees, saying the school system hopes to be able to absorb positions and avoid having to cut staff.
Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said during a Tuesday interview while finances are a factor in the shift to a traditional schedule, the school system feels a traditional schedule will allow the school to better meet CCRPI requirements. He said a synopsis of the school system's reasoning for wanting the schedule shift will be available on the system website, www.cartersville.k12.ga.us, in a few days.
"In a traditional schedule, whether it's a six-period or seven-period, you need fewer staff members. You need more when you're operating on a block," Clouse said. "And this is part of the financial reason to look at changing the schedule, it's certainly not driving the decision, but it is becoming more of a major impact.
"... We think by normal attrition, retirees, people leaving and moving to other things, that we will be able to absorb positions at the high school so hopefully no one loses a job."
He said if the school system was to delay the shift there is the potential for the need to cut jobs due to overstaffing and because of a statewide increase on classified school employee health insurance costs expected to reach a total of nearly $1 million.
"On certified employees right now we pay a percentage ... it's 24 percent of whatever their salary is," Clouse said. "On classified [employees] it's significantly lower, it's not a percentage, it's been a flat fee, and that's what's been going up for the last year or so, and what we've been told is that it's going to reach 800 and some odd dollars when right now we're paying $296."
The Georgia Department of Community Health presented local school districts with the increase this summer, after most systems had already approved their 2011-2012 budgets.
Clouse said the system feels the requirements of CCRPI call for more classroom time for students.
"With the new curriculum coming out and how we're going to be measured against that, it makes sense to look at year-long courses," Clouse said. "On a block you only have 135 maximum hours in a particular course, on a traditional schedule, depending on what schedule you adopt, you could have 150 to 180 hours for the course."
Hinesley said guidance counselors at the high school are currently examining juniors' transcripts to see what affect the transition will have academically as students near graduation. For example, a student needing two foreign language credits will be instructed to take a foreign language class next semester and one across two semesters their senior year.
"It would be their fault for not signing up [for the classes], but they would blame us and if we're not proactive we'd probably take the brunt of it, and so we're being proactive," Hinesley said.
Georgia is one of the first states seeking a waiver from some of the requirements within NCLB, previously requesting an application for a waiver in September alongside U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson.
According to a press release, the CCRPI will, "measure the extent to which a school, school district, and the state are successfully making progress on a number of accountability indicators, such as content mastery, student attendance and the next level of preparation."
Separate scores will be provided in three areas to capture the essential work of individual schools and the school-wide scores in these areas will produce a school's overall CCRPI score. The areas are Achievement Score, based upon current year data; Progress Score, based upon current and prior year data; and Achievement Gap Closure Score, based upon gap closure at the state or school level.
"Through Georgia's College and Career Ready Performance Index, we will be able to use multiple indicators to determine a school's overall impact on our students," Barge said. "This approach will do more to ensure that the K-12 experience provides students with the academic preparation to compete globally, as well as the career development skills aligned with the evolving requirements of our workforce."
The Georgia Department of Education has worked with a number of education stakeholders throughout the state for more than 18 months on the CCRPI, including district superintendents, K-12 principals, counselors, teachers, and business and industry partners. The formation of CCRPI also has been guided by the U.S. Department of Education's Blueprint for Reform, the Council of Chief State School Officers' Roadmap for Next-Generation Accountability System and technical advice from "a number of other education partners."
Concerning how the CCRPI relates to current Adequate Yearly Progress status for the state, the release says "for the 2011-2012 school year, Georgia requests 'stay put' permission relative to the current 2011 AYP determinations, Needs Improvement interventions as outlined in the Georgia Single Statewide Accountability System and in Georgia's Consolidated State Application Accountability workbook and consequence structure. The CCRPI calculations will be communicated to Georgia schools and school districts to establish baseline data for 2011-2012 within the context of a 'hold harmless' consequence structure."
Clouse said the transition task force at the high school will present to the board their recommendation for graduation requirements during the first week of December. The decision to shift to a six- or seven-period day will be based on what is required of the schools' standards to meet the requirements of the CCRPI.
Barge has said the CCRPI will allow for schools to compare their performance on the local to national level more adequately as well as provide a better reflection of a school's performance.
"We have a unique opportunity to implement a state-specific performance index that communicates a clear pathway towards school improvement and transparent accountability. It also charts the course for ensuring that more of Georgia's students are truly college and career ready," Barge said. "This index will give schools a score that better reflects their efforts to educate students and will be much easier to communicate to the general public."