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News from Mathnasium of Columbus Bradley Park

6 Muscogee County schools are on state’s chronically failing list. Here are the details.

Dec 5, 2019

Mark Rice of the Ledger Enquirer reports: 

For the second straight year, Muscogee County has six schools on the list of the lowest-performing in Georgia, putting them at risk for intervention or even takeover by the state.

Among the 105 Turnaround Eligible Schools on the 2019 list, the ones in Muscogee County are:

  • Baker Middle School
  • Brewer Elementary School
  • Dorothy Height Elementary School
  • Georgetown Elementary School
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
  • Rothschild Leadership Academy, which is a middle school.

Davis Elementary School was on the 2018 list but improved enough this past year to be removed. Georgetown, however, was added to the 2019 list. Baker, Brewer, Dorothy Height, MLK and Rothschild are on both lists.

David Lewis, the Muscogee County School District’s superintendent, told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email, “Overall we have seen positive results and improvements, such as the removal of Davis Elementary from the Turnaround Eligible Schools List, that affirm the hard work demonstrated by our teachers and instructional leaders in implementing our District plan for these schools. We will continue to work closely with the Georgia Department of Education and Governor’s Office of Student Achievement to provide the targeted resources and support for our turnaround eligible schools.”

No schools in Harris or Chattahoochee counties are on the list.

Comparing the school districts serving Georgia’s second-tier cities, Muscogee County (Columbus) has the fewest Turnaround Eligible Schools with six. Bibb County (Macon) has 10, Chatham County (Savannah) has seven, and Richmond County (Augusta) has 13.

The Turnaround Eligible Schools list, which the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement released Monday, comprises what the state considers to be its chronically failing schools.

As a result, they could be targeted by the state’s chief turnaround officer, who works with school district officials to select from the list which schools will receive the extra help from the state.

“Our office in collaboration with others, including the district, will determine next steps regarding additional partner schools,” Eric Thomas, the chief turnaround officer, told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email.


No local schools are among the 19 the hief turnaround officer has selected for intervention in previous years.

Georgia House Bill 338, also called the First Priority Act and approved by the state legislature in 2017, authorizes the hief turnaround officer, in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, to identify the state’s lowest-performing schools, defined as those with a three-year average College and Career Ready Performance Index score in the state’s bottom 5 percent.

The Ledger-Enquirer reported the local 2019 CCRPI scores in October.

When student achievement office announced the original list of chronically failing schools in February 2015, MCSD had 10 of the 141 schools in that group. MCSD reduced that number to eight out the state’s 127 chronically failing schools the next year and again reduced that number to seven in January 2017 while the state’s number increased to 153.

Then, in November 2017, after the chief turnaround officer was established and the chronically failing schools list became the Turnaround Eligible Schools list, MCSD again reduced its number, to five out of the state’s 104.


Last year, in October 2018, MCSD’s number increased, to six out of the state’s 104.

The selected Turnaround Schools receive the highest level of state support among the four levels, GaDOE communications director Meghan Frick told the Ledger-Enquirer in an email.

  • Tier I, for school improvement coaching and professional learning, is available to all schools from the state Department of Education.
  • Tier II, called Targeted Support & Improvement, provides schools with district-level coaching and some additional professional learning and technical assistance from theDepartment of Education.
  • Tier III, called Comprehensive Support & Improvement, provides schools with more intensive help from the Department of Education.
  • Tier IV, for Turnaround Schools, is intervention from the chief turnaround officer, who reports to the Georgia Board of Education.

According to state law, the chief turnaround officer may recommend to the state board some severe actions if a Turnaround School, after three years, hasn’t met the improvement goals that were set in the intervention contract. They include:

  • Removal of school personnel.
  • Conversion to a charter school.
  • Operation of the school by a private, nonprofit third party, selected by the local board of education.
  • Operation of the school by another district, pursuant to funding established by the state board.
  • Allowing parents to move their children to another public school in the district.

The CTO hasn’t taken over any of the Turnaround Schools, Thomas said.

“Although schools and districts may have made principal changes,” he said, “we have not communicated any such requirements.”