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8 Bibb schools among lowest performing in state, new law could give them extra attention

Eight Bibb schools are on the “Turnaround Eligible Schools List.” / Matt Thielke (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- One hundred and four schools are on a new list of the lowest performing in Georgia, called the “Turnaround Eligible Schools List.”

Eight of the 104 schools are in Bibb County.

The list averages three years of Career and College Readiness Performance Index scores, or CCRPI.

If they average falls in the bottom five percent in the state, the school makes the list.

The Bibb County schools on the list are:

  • Appling Middle School
  • Ballard Hudson Middle School
  • Bruce Elementary School
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
  • Riley Elementary School
  • Southfield Elementary School
  • Union Elementary School
  • Veterans Elementary School

The list is part of a new law called the "First Priority Act", or HB 338.

Bibb County schools superintendent Dr. Curtis Jones says it's like the Opportunity School District amendment.

That amendment didn't pass a vote by Georgians last November, but it would’ve allowed the state to take over failing schools.

Jones says this law is more cooperative.

“This version is: 'We are going to work with the schools,’” Jones said. “I think that is what you are going to probably see initially."

The First Priority Act creates a new position for a Chief Turnaround Officer. The state hired Eric Thomas to that role in October. Thomas will oversee identifying schools with the lowest average of CCRPI scores, and manage the Turnaround Eligible Schools List. Thomas will also work with parents and local school leaders to make an intensive school improvement plan they think will lead to better student achievement.

Dr. Jones says while eight schools from Bibb county are on the list, they might not get help from the turnaround officer.

“The state is not going to work with all of them, I don't think,” he said. “I think the most likely course is they will pick a group of schools, a subgroup, and decide what it is they can do and determine their methodology for trying to improve educational outcomes.”

Jones wants parents to know that Bibb county leaders are already acting to boost student performance without the turnaround officer.

“We aren't waiting for someone to come and share with us ideas on how to improve. We have started an improvement process that is showing results,” he said.

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