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Cherokee District, Charter Excel on CRCT

Thursday, the Georgia Department of Education released school-level results on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

Third, fourth and fifth graders at , and elementary schools and seventh and eighth graders at outperformed their county and state peers in all five subject areas of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests.

And in its first year of operation, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh graders bested the county and the state in at least three of the CRCT's five content areas.

Those were some of the highlights from schools in ZIP code 30114 that learned Thursday how they fared on the high-stakes test.

The CRCT measures third- to eighth-grade students’ abilities in reading, English/language arts, math, science and social studies.

In order to advance to the next grade, students in third-grade must pass the reading portion of the exam while students in fifth- and eighth-grade must meet or exceed expectations in both reading and math.

That wasn't a problem in Cherokee County, where third graders at three schools—Ball Ground, Free Home and Macedonia—showed 100 percent proficiency in reading.

Fifth and eighth graders didn't have perfect showings in reading, but Booth (99.5), Freedom (99.4), Indian Knoll (99.3), Knox (99.1), Liberty (99.1), Little River (99.3), Macedonia (99.4) and Sixes (99.4) came close. The percentage of fifth and eighth graders who met or exceeded math standards wasn't as high. At , 79.4 percent eighth graders knew arithmetic.  fifth graders had the lowest passing rate: 65.5 percent.

Other schools that achieved perfection were:

  • Knox Elementary third and fifth graders, English
  • fourth graders, reading and English
  • Cherokee Charter seventh graders, English.

“We set the bar high for our students,” said Vanessa Suarez, the founding principal of Cherokee Charter Academy. “They grabbed it and ran with it.” 

Some schools in Canton-Sixes Patch's coverage area lagged behind the county and the state. Scores for  third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders, and  fourth and fifth graders fell below county and state averages in all subject areas. Only 52.5 percent of Hasty's sixth graders passed the science portion of the CRCT. About 53.5 percent of Canton's sixth graders passed social studies.

Cherokee Superintendent Frank Petruzielo looked on the bright side. "Every CCSD school," he said in a statement, "saw improvements in scores in one or more grade levels and/or subject areas."

Last month, the Georgia Department of Education released - and -level results. As a state,  than the 2011 version. As a district, students  in every subject area and in every grade level.

"It should be noted that CCSD students continued to achieve success despite increasing challenges: diminishing state and local funding for education and climbing student enrollment, which have led to larger class sizes, and changing demographics," Petruzielo said. "It should also be noted that the percentage of CCSD students who receive free or reduced-price lunch has increased from 19 percent in 2004 to 31 percent today."

He said district officials "are proud of our students and teachers for their progress and success on these challenging tests, and are determined to provide all of the support they need to chart a path to even greater heights."

View the charts to see the percentage of students who met, exceeded or did not meet expectations on the 2012 CRCT.

For the full announcement from the Georgia Department of Education, click here.

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Frank Jones July 14, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Why can't every other school do what CCA does? 1. I seem to remember that they received a special bonus appropriation from the state to bridge that gap. 2. I also suspect that charter schools aren't required to maintain cash reserves like public schools are which would ease their cash demands. 3. As a new school system, CCA could also have hired new and/or younger teachers at a lower pay scale and reaped the benefit of the salary differential between an experienced teacher and a relative newbie. As an established school system with thousands of teachers, this isn't an option for CCSD unless you want to churn through teachers every 5-10 years. 4. As Holly mentioned, CCA didn't provide transportation which saved them $290,000 or more. 5. CSUSA could also have provided interim financing to carry them until the Gold Dome figures out a way to provide full funding. 6. CSUSA could have negotiated a favorable short-term lease for the facilities until CCA is either permanent or closes. For the landlord, the prospect of some rent vs. no rent is a motivator. Basically, there are options and short-term gimics available to CCA that aren't available to CCSD.
Frank Jones July 14, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Nick...Per review of this site, the only ones throwing misinformation around are the pro-charter folks. The rest of us are providing links to published information and offering detailed analyses of the numbers. And Nick, as to producing comparable/better results, you must keep in mind that the students attending CCA were products of CCSD prior to moving to CCA. You must also understand that the demographics of the students indicate that they are, on average, more affluent than CCSD students and as such, are more likely to come from higher educated families where the parents have more time to spend with them. Education it isn't as Black & White as the charter folks try to make it. Unfortunately, this naivety or outright disregard of facts is a threat to our education system.
Decatur Joe July 14, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Frank, wake up! Not every child learns in the same manner. If children can get a meaningful education at CCA, then why do you wish to stop them? Allow parents to have public school options and shut up!
Reading & Listening July 14, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Frank, great points. The teaching force is a huge cost in CCSD (and rightfully so, there are many experienced teachers with Master, Ed. Specialist, Doctorate degrees and National Board Certification), and obviously hiring a small teaching force of relatively new teachers (or underpaying those that have experience) is a huge savings. Will these teachers last long-term with a poor teaching salary? Ah, no. So, my guess is that the school will experience a high turn over in the years to come, which coincides with your 'churning through teachers every 5-10 year' theory. But if I had to guess, I'd say 3-5 at most.
Clark July 14, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Again, for many people this isn't a charter / no charter stance. It's the easiest argument to make: "You don't like CCA so you don't like charters". I for one think charters provide a great choice and work well with schools when they provide a unique learning experience for the children. The CCA application was basically a private school funded via state and local dollars. No unique class structures, no in-depth learning, no revolutionary thoughts such as single sex class rooms. On top of that, they did not want to transparent with their fiscal matters, something that should scare every taxpayer. The last thing we need is another Ball Ground Recycling taking our money, abusing it and being left holding the bag at the end of the day. I am for Charters, but I agree with the CBOE decision on rejecting CCA charters application. Bring the right Charter to Cherokee.

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