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Lyman Hall, Myers elementary schools shed 'needs-improvement' label
Schofield: 'This is a tremendous accomplishment'
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Raymond Akridge, principal at Myers Elementary School, reacts to the southeast Hall school losing its needs-improvement label, based on preliminary basic-skills test data released this week.

Preliminary data shows that Lyman Hall and Myers elementary schools will shed their needs-improvement labels this year, said Will Schofield, superintendent of the Hall County school system, on Thursday.

"Both schools hover in the 90 percent range of their students being economically disadvantaged," Schofield said. "This is a tremendous accomplishment for those two communities and their boys and girls."

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools get tagged as needing improvement if they have failed to make adequate yearly progress, commonly referred to as AYP, for two consecutive years.

Needs-improvement schools, which face an escalating series of consequences the longer they carry that label, can shed the label by making AYP for two consecutive years.

Following federal law, the state uses basic-skills testing — the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests for elementary and middle schools and Georgia High School Graduation Tests for high schools — to evaluate the academic performance of schools.

"The faculty and parents of (Lyman Hall) students are pleased to see the results of our efforts to increase the basic competency of all of the boys and girls ... as measured by the CRCT," said Aaron Turpin, Lyman Hall’s principal.

"The dramatic gains realized over the past two years is attributable to focused language, literacy and mathematics instruction," he added.

"Each day, every student receives focused, individualized literacy and mathematics instruction based on the grade level’s Georgia Performance Standards," Turpin said, referring to the state’s curriculum for each subject area. Students in the mostly Hispanic school at 2150 Memorial Park Road south of Gainesville also are working to learn English and build "limited background knowledge," he said.

Raymond Akridge, principal at Myers on 2676 Candler Road in Southeast Hall, said school officials were pleased with the results.

Beth Hudgins, formerly a 20-year teacher at the school, is replacing Akridge as principal in the 2008-09 school year.

"I know the faculty, and I truly believe that this (accomplishment) will not be just enough for them, that they’ll want to go even more," she said. "I expect that they will ... reach for higher gains next year."

Principals and other school officials began looking at CRCT data Wednesday. The results will become available to the public later, after the scores are verified.

"It will be July before the first official AYP reports are finalized," Schofield said.

On Wednesday, the school learned more good news about one of their schools, East Hall Middle, which has been steeped in needs-improvement for eight years. School officials learned that the school has made AYP.

The school needs to make AYP one more year before it can drop the needs-improvement label.

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