Georgia Department of Education Releases List of Reward Schools

Via Press Release:

Oct. 31, 2012 – The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) today released the list of Reward Schools as part of the state’s waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The category is reserved for schools with the highest performance or the biggest academic gains by students in the last three years.

“These schools are shining examples of what we can achieve in public education in Georgia,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I want to take what’s working at our Reward Schools and replicate that in every school in the state. These are the schools making education work for all Georgians.”

Reward School Definition:

A “Highest-Performing School” is a Title I school among the 5% of Title I schools in the State that has the highest absolute performance over three years for the “all students” group on the statewide assessments. A Highest-Performing School must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the “all students” group and all of its subgroups in 2011. A school may not be classified as a Highest-Performing School if there are significant achievement gaps across subgroups that are not closing in the school.

A “High-Progress School” is a Title I school among the 10% of Title I schools in the State that is making the most progress in improving the performance of the “all students” group over three years on the statewide assessments. A school may not be classified as a High-Progress School if there are significant achievement gaps across subgroups that are not closing in the school.

Other categories under the state’s waiver are: Priority, Focus and Alert schools.


Of the 91 Title 1 schools (40 of which are in “Needs Improvement” Status) in DeKalb County School System, how many do you think made this list as a Highest-Performing (top 5%) Reward School?


The alternative school DeKalb Early College Academy, which serves about 300 students made the list.  Congratulations to them! And we mean it. This is a great program. However, it is very small and quite expensive. The last per pupil cost we have is $14,410.78 [from September, 2011]. In addition, there is another similar program in DeKalb called Gateway to College Charter that has a $16,319.21 per pupil cost. We are not sure why these two cannot combine resources.

If DeKalb had approved the Ivy Prep Academy, there would be two. Ivy Prep also made the top 5% list as a state-sponsored charter.

Three more DeKalb schools then made the “High Progress” (top 10%) list:
Cedar Grove HS, Cross Keys HS and Mary Bethune Middle School.  All three have made great improvements! Congratulations!

To view the list, click this link:
Reward Schools – Highest Performing

To view the Powerpoint created by DCSS from September, 2011 under Tyson’s leadership highlighting our Title 1 program and plans for improvement they called ‘triaging’, click these links:

To view the per pupil costs comparing Title 1 schools to non-Title 1 schools, click this link:
Per Pupil Expenditures – General and Title I

About dekalbschoolwatch

Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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7 Responses to Georgia Department of Education Releases List of Reward Schools

  1. John Dewey III says:

    Cross Keys High School made the top 10% list !

  2. DECA Stakeholder says:

    Whoever posted this information about DeKalb Early College Academy does not have accurate information. We have almost 300 students enrolled in the program and our numbers have been consistently at that level for years. Since this blog is read frequently you should make sure your number are correct: information can be found on the GDOE website and also through the district. Our principal, teachers and students work hard so this should not be minimized at all. The only reason the program cannot grow is because of its’ location. Gateway is a totally different program for older students–must be at least sixteen years old. Students enter DECA in the 9th grade and move on to Ga Perimeter their junior year. DECA is not an alternative school. It is an early college high school which receives alternative funding because of an agreement with the GDOE. Do your homework on the program!!

  3. Our apologies — we had our programs mixed up. We’ll correct the number in the post. And yes, our point is, these kinds of programs should be combined to most effectively serve as many students as possible. Keep up the good work- we’re hoping to have more schools on the list next time!!

  4. Dr. DeKalb says:

    Here is the proof you asked for that shows that the ALEC model legislation is the same as the charter school amendment:

  5. Thanks for the link. We also see it on the Get the Cell Out website. Legislation is written by citizen advocates as well. Actually writing a law is not an easy task. Legislators, by and large do not write all of their own laws – many of them are not even lawyers, so when they do write laws, they are not well-written and cause more problems than they solve. The point is, if this legislation was written by outside corporate lawyers, it still has to be brought forth by legislators and approved by the people just like any other laws. Think: gun laws. The people will have their say on Tuesday. Some of us agree with this legislation, others don’t. We will also almost be divided in half by presidential votes. That doesn’t mean half the people in the U.S. are wrong: it just means everyone has different opinions about a direction for our country. Nothing new in that really. Many of us, however, have opinions on a new direction for public education. We can’t keep using this socialist, 50s model for downloading rote information to large groups of children. It’s not working and there’s no data to support it. In fact, the data shows a trend toward failure.

  6. DeKalb BOE for dummies says:

    Bethune Middle, Ha! All of its veteran teachers have left the building. How many? Try more than 20. Why? Discipline. The others who are still there want out. I would be interested to know what this numbers really are after the 2010-11 school year. Go back and look at the progress after that and then we can talk.

  7. hopespringseternal says:

    Discipline. The big elephant in the room. I watched the news story this week of a parent who insisted her child is not a bully and demanded an apology from those who would say such a thing. This despite another parent’s assertion otherwise. We have gotten away from the notion that our childrens’ job is to accept both learning and discipline. My son wakes up every day with a new strategy for how to avoid being tortured in school by those who taunt him, enabled (actively or passively) by adults. I had to explain to my mother that while I don’t condone the adult enabling behavior, if they actually honored the no-bullying protocol of the school system, there’d be a handful of kids left in the school building. Back to that news story — to me it completely encapsulates the reasons for “escape hatches” — boutique and charter schools. That parent has no clue that her precious baby, seen fighting like a man in a stadium bathroom, is somehow misbehaving. Hope isn’t springing eternally for me as I write this post, because until we see that we are in fact approving inappropriate behaviors, the schools and the perceptions of them won’t turn around. Oh, test scores on this or that will improve to some degree. But it’s going to take a huge effort to turn around kids’ behaviors when there’s de facto approval of their heinous acts.

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