Georgia's Future. Now! Header
April 2014

Georgia's Future. Now! 
Georgia Studentsis a package of initiatives that has withstood the scrutiny of teachers, principals and research.  It features high standards, evaluation and accountability measures focused on improvement, and career pathways to inspire students based on their personal interests and aligned with business needs.
Georgia's Future. Now! means: 

12/STEM for Life - Making a Difference in Students' Lives
Click to watch "My Future, My Success"

Recently, I spoke with Dr. Doug Wright, 12 for Life/STEM for Life Coordinator with Carroll County School System.  12 for Life is a cooperative education program supported by Southwire Company helping students gain extra motivation to finish 12 years of school and enjoy better lives.  We discussed the 12 for Life program from its origins, latest developments, success, and other suggestions.


How did the program get started?

In 2005, Southwire Company, the leading manufacturer of electrical wire in North America and based in Carrolton, GA invited local school systems to discuss the idea of a partnership to improve graduation rates while providing valuable life skills for students, especially those at risk for not finishing high school.  After many months of discussion and planning, the 12 for Life facility opened its doors in January 2007 as a partnership between Southwire and Carroll County Schools.  The program started with sixty-nine students, and is focused on providing students a real job in a manufacturing plant, with the opportunity to gain an education, a paycheck, key work and life skills, and the all-important hope-for a diploma, for success in the workplace, and for a better life.  The student enrollment of 12 for Life will likely exceed three hundred next school year.  Heard County and Haralson County School Systems are also now part of the partnership.


What are some of the major successes of the program?

The overall graduation rate for the school system has increased over 10% since the program began.  For those students in the most economically disadvantaged category, the graduation rate has improved 21%.  There has been a dramatic increase in attendance and interest for those involved students.  With the addition of the Race to the Top Innovation Fund grant through the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, the school system has been able to offer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) courses to students often underrepresented in these classes.  Students understand the practical benefits of these courses for their future and are taking classes that they once thought to be too difficult or boring for them.


Another success is that 12 for Life has created a "win-win-win" partnership.  Students are able to gain class credits, life skills, a paying job, and grow in confidence.  It is profitable for Southwire, and our community benefits because the program creates a more educated work force and a skilled generation for the future.


Do you have any final thoughts for other schools and communities considering a similar type of approach?

We would like to invite representatives from business and education to visit 12 for Life to see how the program can work for them.  There are several models of 12 for Life in place across our state, and there is a way to make the program work for any business and school system interested in impacting the community.


If we improve our communities, we improve our state.  And if we improve our state, then we improve our nation.


For More Information about 12/STEM for Life:

12 For Life Brochure: 

12 for Life Website:

12 for Life Video: 


Georgia Releases 2012 and 2013 CCRPI scores
2012 and 2013 scores calculated based on a new, higher bar

Dr. Barge DOE logoThe Georgia Department of Education released the second College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), based on data from the 2012 and 2013 school years.  Georgia's elementary schools saw a one-year increase in scores from 74.9 to 78.5 (+3.6), middle schools saw a one-year increase in scores from 73.9 to 75.0 (+1.1) and high schools saw a one-year decrease in scores from 73.0 to 72.0 (-1.0).


The CCRPI is Georgia's statewide accountability system, implemented in 2012 to replace the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurement, after the U.S.  Department of Education granted Georgia's waiver from NCLB on Feb. 9, 2012.  It measures schools and school districts on an easy-to-understand 100-point scale, helping parents and the public better understand how schools are performing in a more comprehensive manner than the pass/fail system previously in place under AYP.


In addition to scores based on the 2013 school year, recalculated scores for the 2012 school year were also released today.  Since the first "study year" of CCRPI implementation in 2012, the State has received valuable feedback from education partners and the public, and has revised and refined the CCRPI to make a more meaningful report.  The 2013 data was calculated reflecting the new calculation, and the 2012 scores were recalculated applying the new calculation methodology to the same 2012 data.


"Many people have worked hard to make sure the CCRPI provides the most accurate, effective measure possible of the work schools are doing to prepare students for success," Superintendent Barge said.  "This is an index that is both comprehensive and simple to understand, and it is an important component of our efforts to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for whatever they choose to do, whether that be going to college, joining the military, or immediately beginning a career." 


The updated calculations require schools and districts to meet greater expectations to earn high scores.  Comparisons between 2012 and 2013 results will only be valid using the recalculated results.  Any comparison to the "study year" will not compare "apples to apples" and will be invalid.


2012 CCRPI Reports


2013 CCRPI Reports



Georgia's Performance Learning Centers Help Students Get Back on Track
Students at the Performance Learning Center in Augusta, Georgia, work at their own pace with the help of online programs and their classroom teachers
Photo by Natalie Robinson

Last February, 16-year-old Megan enrolled at the Richmond County Performance Learning Center in Augusta, Georgia, with just one high school credit to her name. She had lost ground academically while caring for her ill father and then was thrust into the unstable world of foster care after he died.


This spring, only a year after coming to the alternative high school, Megan is just a little shy of hitting the halfway mark toward graduation. She enjoys writing and literature, and is feeling hopeful about her future. She also thinks her father would have been proud. "What keeps me going is I want to be successful when I grow up," she said. "If he were here, he would push me to do what was right."


Performance Learning Centers (PLCs) are designed to help students such as Megan who are far behind accumulate credits quickly so they can graduate. The first one opened in Georgia in 2003 and since then they have been established in a dozen communities in the State. They also operate in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and other States.


"They're doing amazing work with the kids all of the time," said Cayanna Good, Georgia's Innovative Programs director. Critical to the centers' success, Good said, is the flexibility they offer students, who can get extra help before or after school, work at their own pace, and even graduate at any time during the year. For example, the center in Augusta has had about 120 students of various ages enrolled this year, and 20 already have graduated. Another 20 are expected to graduate this spring, according to the school's principal, Natalie Robinson.

Success Means Graduating

Good said the centers make it clear to students that they define success as earning a high school diploma and acquiring at least one marketable skill. Another important aspect of the centers is their focus on relationships. "I see every single adult connected to the [centers] absolutely committed to the children there," she said.

Students agree. Megan said she might have walked out of school a few times had it not been for Robinson's encouragement. "When I have gotten upset and thought I was ready to give up, she was the one I came to talk to," Megan said. "She's the one that put it in my head that I don't need to give up."

The focus on graduating, the flexibility, and the personal touch seems to be a winning combination. Research shows Georgia's PLCs are meeting their goals of helping students make academic progress, improving graduation rates, and lowering dropout rates.


For Full Article: Georgia's Performance Learning Centers Help Students Get Back on Track

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The contents of this newsletter were developed under a grant from the U. S. Department of Education.  However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U. S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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