Big difference for school in one year - CBS46 News

Big difference for school in one year

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Source: WGCL Source: WGCL

New high quality teachers and a new principal start with learning to read. Last year 90 percent of 3rd graders were already behind. 

The new leadership at Thomasville Heights feels the urgency of change.

Students come from tough streets near the federal penitentiary in southwest atlanta. Drama and trauma often freeze the focus on learning.

Principal Nicole Evans Jones added two more hours to the school day, more days in the school year. It did not happen overnight. But it is clearly happening.

The state's overall score for Thomasville heights went up by 50 percent from the year before.

But not enough to get Thomasville heights up from the bottom 5% of all the schools in georgia.

Because georgia averages scores for 3 years, it's still at risk of state takeover.

Yet other changes are altering the culture at Thomasville Heights. State scores come out when the year is over. They are after the fact, or lagging indicators. The new state turnaround chief looking for improvement checks leading indicators.

All three of these are up at Thomasville Heights. Most of all, parents. Sherrilyn Cullins was a Thomasville grad. Her mom, too. Now daughter Miracle is suddenly thriving.

Sherrilyn says they had no idea how bad the school was until the state started keeping score. Now Sherrilyn and other parents are pushing the change.

It did not happen overnight. But it is clearly happening.

Parents surged into the school for free tickets to share thanksgiving lunch.

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