How various systems stacked up in 2013 compared to Liberty County:
• Camden: 85
• Effingham: 84
• Bryan: 83.5
• Bulloch: 75.4
• Liberty: 72.6
• Long: 71.5
• Chatham: 71.3
• Tattnall: 70.7
Liberty County Schools received a district score of 72.6 in data released Monday by the Georgia Department of Education, falling short of the state average of 75.8.
The grades are part of the DoE’s College and Career Ready Performance Index, which is the accountability system that replaced No Child Left Behind and Adequate Yearly Progress in Georgia. CCRPI measures schools and districts on a 100-point scale based on data from the 2012-13 school year that included student test scores, academic progress and closing gaps in performance between groups of students.
Liberty’s elementary, middle and high schools all scored under the state averages. The county’s elementary schools earned a CCRPI score of 72.4 compared to Georgia’s 78.5. Liberty’s high schools came in at 70.4 compared to the state’s 72 average, and local middle schools earned a score of 73.1 compared to the 75 state average.
Last year, Liberty fared a little better. The county’s middle schools fell short of the state average, earning 78.7 compared to the 2012 state average of 81.4. But elementary and high schools here both outperformed the state averages. Liberty elementary schools received an 84.3 compared to the state’s 83.4, and high schools were almost four points higher than the state average of 72.6 with 76.3.
Liberty County Superintendent Dr. Valya S. Lee said the results weren’t something she expected, but added she couldn’t say much about them because the scores are based on data from 2012-13, before she was named superintendent. At that time, Dr. Judy Scherer was serving her final year at the helm of the school system. Scherer retired last summer.
“It was surprising because the district had done so well in 2012, and then they went down in 2013,” Lee said. “I can only try and surmise what may have happened. I don’t know what happened because I really don’t know what Dr. Scherer did or didn’t do in relation to taking the district through this to help them garner all the points they could get.”
However, Lee thinks frequent changes to CCRPI index indicators may have had something to do with Liberty County’s scores. She said that during the school-year, some measures were added by the Georgia DoE and some were removed.
“So, to some extent, it was somewhat of a moving target. … I need to stress the fact that I do not think those scores are really indicative of Liberty’s ability. The scores went down for the most part across the state,” Lee said. “The CCRPI indicators have and continue to be under development.”
The superintendent remains optimistic about the district’s future and students’ abilities to raise their scores.
“We are working diligently and focusing on all of the indicators that are currently at our disposal so that we can maximize our opportunities,” she said. “We expect great increases this time, in 2014.”
Neighboring Long County also didn’t receive good news concerning CCRPI scores. The district score was 71.5 compared to the Georgia average of 75.8. Long fell short at individual levels, too. Long County’s high-school score was 62.8 compared to the state’s 72 average. The middle school scored 72.4 compared to Georgia’s average of 75, and Walker Elementary (fourth and fifth grades) earned 74.8, falling 3.7 points short of the 78.5 state average. A bright spot, though, was Smiley Elementary (kindergarten through third grade), which scored 90.3 — the highest score of any school in Liberty or Long counties.
Bryan County, on the other hand, has reason to celebrate. The district’s score of 83.5 is higher than the state average of 75.8 and better than the system’s 2012 CCRPI score of 82.7.