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OUR VIEW: School scores show improvement

This past week, the Georgia Department of Education released College and Career Readiness Performance Index scores for all public schools in the state.

Like the past few years, the news locally was a mixed bag, although we’d say it trended positively. Thirteen local schools saw their schools improve from the previous year. Some of those improvements, such as the gain Hogansville Elementary School experienced, were gigantic. Hogansville moved from 47.6 in 2018 to 71.3 in 2019.

Others were more incremental but still trending in the right direction.

Those included Ethel Kight Elementary, which rose from 56.7 to 69.2; Franklin Forest, which increased from 66.9 to 79; Long Cane Elementary, which increased from 78.4 to 86; Hillcrest Elementary, which went from 69.6 to 78; and Rosemont Elementary, which went from 73 to 83.4.

Long Cane Elementary now has the highest score in all of TCSS, with Rosemont, Franklin Forest and Hillcrest right behind.

The other schools with increases were the following: Bertha Weathersbee (went from 64 in 2018 to 69.4 in 2019), Callaway High School (68.5 to 73.5), Callaway Middle School (53.6 to 57.1), Gardner Newman Middle School (59.6 to 64.2), LaGrange High School (74.8 to 76.8); Long Cane Middle School (62 to 73) and Troup County High School (64.4 to 70).

There’s so much information released in a CCRPI report that we could probably write a book just for the Troup County School System. Given that fact, our story took a big picture view at the scores, comparing them to state averages.

However, it’s important to note that elementary schools (77.1) and high schools (77) scored higher statewide than middle schools (72.1). Therefore, comparing apples to apples, Long Cane Middle School actually scored higher than the middle school state average as well.

The scores still aren’t where anyone wants them to be. The school system, led by Superintendent Brian Shumate, has compared the stats to similar and nearby districts, and TCSS fits into the bottom third in most of those comparisons.

The school system gained a lot on the state average in many categories, which shows that trend may be changing. We hope it is.

In talking to Shumate and other school system leaders, it’s clear no one is satisfied by the latest scores.

To use a sports comparison Shumate has used, the school system has been 4-6 for a long time. Very rarely do 4-6 teams get turned around in one year or two. It’s usually a slow build, especially when it comes to test scores and improving an entity from the ground up.

This is the first year in a while where the school system has had a somewhat positive report from the CCRPI. Thirteen schools saw improvements, which is a huge accomplishment. (did we say that already)

Now, of course, the goal is to keep that momentum going. Shumate has talked about the steps to get there — aligning curriculums, consistent checks to see how students are progressing — and he’s working on the steps to build all of that now.

There’s no magic wand remedy to suddenly give TCSS the best scores in the state of Georgia. Shumate has only been on the job since July and has big plans.

Parents and community members should be optimistic based on the latest scores that things are moving in the right direction.