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Long Co. schools meet AYP standards
BoE approves change to expand participation in graduation ceremonies
web 0727 Long July BoE Meeting picture
From left: Long County Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Florence Baggs and BoE members Linda DeLoach and Billy Hall voted to change the requirements for students to participate in the high schools graduation ceremony. - photo by Mikee Riddle

Long County Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters was notified last week that all three county schools met the Adequate Yearly Progress standards for 2011.

Schools are required to meet the federal AYP standards under the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.

“I am very proud of the hard work from the bottom up — students, teachers, administrators, parents — and a special thanks to the board of education for their support,” Waters said.

Long County High School now has made the AYP standards in four of the past five years. Walker Middle School has met the requirements seven years in a row, and Smiley Elementary School has met the standards for nine consecutive years.

According to information provided by the Georgia Department of Education, 63 percent of all schools in the state met the AYP standards this year, but only 30 percent of the high schools did.

“Achieving these high standards is the result of a combined effort from the students, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and everyone else in our school system,” Long County Board of Education member Linda DeLoach said. “As a member of the board, I will say that we are committed to continue doing all that we can to help our schools meet these standards and be the best that they can be.”

At the July 14 board meeting, members decided to change the eligibility requirements for students to participate in the high school’s graduation ceremony. 

Prior to the meeting, the only students allowed to participate in the ceremony were those receiving high school diplomas through the state.  

To meet the state’s requirements, these students had to pass all of their required classes and pass the Georgia High School Graduation Tests. Students who met all of the high school’s requirements but did not pass the state’s graduation tests did not receive diplomas. Instead, they received certificates of completion from Long County. These students were not allowed to walk at graduation.

Board Vice Chairwoman Florence Baggs said at the June meeting she did not think the policy was fair. She said anyone who passes all of Long County High School’s requirements should be allowed to participate in the ceremony. 

At Thursday’s meeting, Baggs made a motion to change the graduation requirements and board member Billy Hall seconded. The measure passed — DeLoach also voted in favor of the change, while Chairman Dempsey Golden and member Emma Strickland voted no. 

Students who attend the alternative school still will not be allowed to participate in the graduation ceremony, regardless of their standing. They are not allowed to attend extracurricular activities in the school system.

In other business, the board:

• Adopted an anti-bullying policy.

• Adopted a resolution for alternative/nontraditional education programs.

• Adopted policies for an IHA grading system,  promotion/retention and graduation.

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