"We were in the 98th percentile of greatest gains on the CRCT and that means we had more than 35 percent of our students meeting or exceeding [the standard] on the CRCT," Principal Amy Heater said, adding scores from WES students had previously been around the 90th percentile.
She said former principal Evie Barge, who left the school this past summer to serve as principal of Cloverleaf Elementary School, encouraged a faculty book study on the book "Closing the Achievement Gap." The school also has initiated an intervention block.
"Students that need extra help go to tutorials; students that need above and beyond [instruction], they go to an enrichment-type class," Heater said, adding the focus is on reading and math. "By far, [specialized instruction] has helped our success.
"Just honing in on individual students and basically their individual needs and we're able to do that when we have that intervention block because it's daily from 8 to 8:45 [a.m.]."
She said all faculty and staff also have a team-time group to discuss and prepare for the intervention block.
"I truly have the best staff, the hardest-working staff ever," Heater said. "They are very dedicated and go above and beyond their call of duty.
"It's almost like we're a family and we all chip in when we can."
While State Superintendent John Barge has submitted a waiver to the federal government that will allow the state to opt out of the CRCT and No Child Left Behind, Heater said her faculty maintains focus on students, not test scores.
"We are child-centered, we are student-centered, we always have some sort of assessment hanging over our heads and that keeps us kind of grounded as educators, it keeps us on our feet, but at White we definitely look at the individual child and keep pushing forward and that's why we have the tutorials or enrichment," Heater said.
Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday that 370 Georgia public schools are being recognized for improvement and achievement during the 2010-2011 school year. The schools are being recognized under Georgia's Single Statewide Accountability System, developed by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, to award schools based on their performance on state curriculum exams and Adequate Yearly Progress status.
"Congratulations to these 370 schools for their commitment to hard work and high academic standards," Deal said in a press release. "The principals and teachers at these schools are to be commended for maintaining a focus on providing every student with a world-class education."
The awards are being announced as part of the release of the 2010-2011 K-12 Public Schools Report Card. The Report Card, which features the SSAS awards, was developed by GOSA and provides bottom-line data for Georgia's preschools, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, technical colleges and educator licensing and accreditation. It includes school, system and state level reports organized into seven major sections -- accountability, Georgia tests, national tests, indicators, student and school demographics, personnel and comparisons.
"I am pleased to recognize these schools for their continued focus on student achievement," said Bonnie Holliday, executive director of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, in the release. "Congratulations to the students at these schools for their accomplishments and to the staff for their ongoing commitment to learning."
The schools are awarded on four levels -- Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze -- in two categories, greatest gains and highest performance
Greatest gains consists of 111 schools that are being recognized for demonstrating significant improvement on the CRCT or the Georgia High School Graduation Tests.
Highest performance consists of 259 schools that are being recognized for high achievement on the CRCT or GHSGT.
The GOSA provides accountability for all of Georgia's education system from pre-kindergarten to post secondary to drive improvement in student achievement and school completion through meaningful, transparent and objective analysis and communication of statewide data. To learn more about GOSA, visit www.gaosa.org.