Euharlee Elementary School teachers closely followed each student’s progress in meeting reading and math goals and collaborated on strategies for improving their performances last school year.
The result was the school being among the top 5% of Title I schools statewide showing improvement on a state assessment based on 2018-2019 data — earning it the Georgia Department of Education’s designation as a Reward School.
Education Department leaders recognized the school after increases were shown on its College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) score under the leadership of former principal Sharon Collum, a news release stated.
CCRPI combines test scores with other measures — such as improvement by such student subgroups as economically disadvantaged pupils — to show how well schools are preparing them for the next educational level.
Euharlee recorded a score of 82.7 which was the highest among all Bartow elementary schools and more than five points above the average for all Georgia elementary schools, according to the state Department of Education.
Collum now oversees the school system’s federal programs and professional learning.
She attributed Euharlee’s improvement to “the tireless efforts of a wonderful staff working around the clock to improve student learning.”
“The difference began as we truly broke apart the curriculum, standard by standard, and child by child,” she said.
Euharlee Assistant Principal Amanda Elrod said the school in 2018 created the “Data Den” to track each student’s progress.
The “Den” included charts with student’s names that were color-coded based on how well they fared on tests to determine if they were meeting state-approved “benchmarks” for understanding reading and math.
“Teachers met regularly in this room to discuss progress, or lack of, and physically move names based on data,” Elrod said.
“Our teachers took ownership of this data and collaborated on strategies for improvement,” she said. “Intervention plans, as well as tutoring selections, were based on data alone.
“No longer were academic decisions based on, ‘I feel,’ but (on), ‘The data shows,’” Elrod said.
Current Euharlee Principal Jim Bishop has continued that focus this academic year through the Professional Learning Communities model, the release stated.
A professional learning community gives teachers specified times during the school day to collaborate to improve the quality of instruction in the classroom and maximize the impact on student achievement.
“Teachers are collaborating twice weekly to set learning targets, clarify expected outcomes, analyze assessment data, and plan instruction to meet the needs of students who are struggling and those who are excelling,” Bishop said.
“Each also understands the improvement targets that must be met on the Georgia Milestones in order to build on the growth achieved last year,” the principal said.
Georgia Milestones include end-of-grade tests given annually to third- through eighth-graders; and end-of-course tests given twice a year to high school students.
The Bartow County Board of Education was set to recognize Euharlee Elementary for its improvement at the Dec. 16 board meeting.