Local charter school at risk for the upcoming school year

SAVANNAH, Ga., (WSAV) — School starts on Thursday, but this charter school gets off to a bumpy start to the school year. Savannah Classical Academy was recently notified by the Georgia Department of Education that they are ranked as failing.

Schools are ranked as failing once they fall below the states average score of 60 out of 100, for the Georgia Milestone Assessment.

Since opening in 2013, Savannah Classical Academy has fallen below 60. 2013- 2014, their average score was a 43.5. 2014- 2015, their average score was a 55.6. 2015- 2016, their average score was a 54.6.

After three consecutive years of failing scores, the state decided to put the school on probation. The probationary period allows the school to remain functioning. It gives them a chance to improve scores before the state takes the school away from Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS).

According to Kurt Hetager, SCCPSS Chief of Public Affairs, “”Savannah Classical has not exhibited or demonstrated that they’re able to do that and that was cited also in the probation letter that as received from the state.”

Although Savannah Classical Academy, is a charter school and is under the District Flexibility and Charter School Division of Georgia Department of Education they must adhere to the standards.

“It’s expected that charter schools are doing innovative things that are different from the district – that the district cannot offer or provide for students and that they’re reaching students in a different way to have higher  academic outcomes from the state and even when compared to local schools.” Hetager said.

In order for the school be removed from probation, they must submit a corrective action plan that outlines. According to Payne, his plan includes:

  • Realigning the curriculum to fir the states requirements
  • Improving remediation and acceleration rates
  • Engaging in professional development with teachers
  • Professional staff consulting

“We are making moves to make sure we do everything we have to do to get our outcomes up based on those milestone assessments,” Director of Savannah Classical Academy, Benjamin Payne said.

Payne must submit this plan for review by the Department and SCCPSS by Friday, August 18, 2017. Savannah Classical Academy must implement the plan if approved by October 2.

Those students who are on the waiting list for this upcoming school year will have to wait it out — until the school is back on good terms.

Without a doubt, the principal knows his school will reach the states standards by the end of the school year. “Its actually a really enthusiastic mood inside right now we’re all ready for years its going to be great,” Payne said.



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