For several months, schools across the state of Georgia have been anxiously awaiting the release of CCRPI ratings – the state’s tool for measuring school performance. That day has finally come. For perpetually low performing schools, the release of this data can have implications often unseen to the casual observer. The results can mean the difference between state intervention, thus triggering a series of mandatory interventions – or to the contrary, they can release a school from the scurrilous stigmatization often associated with low academic performance.
This is a pressure for improvement that Banneker High School has responded well to, and as a practical matter, has inspired our school community to pursue higher rates of achievement. For a school that once endured a 3-year stretch of graduation rates nearly 30% points below the state average, the call for a targeted reform strategy was courageously trumpeted by former Fulton County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Robert Avossa. That initiative resulted in the the advent of the Achievement Zone, a descriptor applied to the 7 elementary and 2 middle schools that feed into Banneker. Recognizing that the anatomy of failure – especially for high schools, is not always the result of the inadequacy of their own work, a blend of common expectations was introduced to all Achievement Zone schools with hopes of producing improved student outcomes.