Education

Georgia Officials Announce First Group of ‘Turnaround’ Schools

Eric Thomas, Georgia’s new chief turnaround officer, said officials considered several criteria when choosing schools. The goal is to help the 11 schools, all of them in Middle or South Georgia, improve academically.
Eric Thomas, Georgia’s new chief turnaround officer, said officials considered several criteria when choosing schools. The goal is to help the 11 schools, all of them in Middle or South Georgia, improve academically.
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Georgia officials have picked 11 schools they’d like to “turn around,” meaning they want to help them improve academically. All of them are in Middle or South Georgia. Schools in Bibb, Clay, Dooly, Dougherty and Randolph counties made the list.

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Eric Thomas, the state’s new chief turnaround officer, said officials considered several criteria when choosing schools. Those included a school’s score on the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), student attendance records, discipline referrals and teacher retention rates. They also examined the underlying causes of those problems.

“… social-emotional, mental health data, homelessness, foster care, early learning indicators, [we considered] just an incredible amount of data in terms of what is taking place in those particular districts,” Thomas said.

Arianne Weldon, director of the Get Georgia Reading campaign, helped Thomas research those root causes. She said factors like high preterm birth rates, vision problems and asthma among children are prevalent in some areas of the state.

Weldon said those factors can lead to problems at school.

“One of the predominant reasons children [in Georgia] miss school in terms of a health factor is asthma,” she said.

Weldon said, with the right interventions, those problems can improve. That’s the kind of effect Thomas hopes the state’s turnaround efforts will have.

“There are some districts that, if you’ve got a small number of schools, and if you can have an impact on one or two of those schools, you can have an impact on not just the district, but really the entire community,” he said.

Thomas would like “turnaround” efforts for the 11 schools to begin in January. Once the work is underway for this group, he says officials may target additional schools.

List Of Turnaround Schools

Bibb County

Appling Middle School

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

Veterans Elementary School

Clay County

Clay County Middle School

Dooly County

Dooly County Elementary School

Dooly County High School

Dooly County Middle School

Dougherty County

Alice Coachman Elementary School

Morningside Elementary School

Northside Elementary School

Randolph County

Randolph Clay Middle School