Nine of the 74 public schools removed from the Georgia Department of Education’s list of Priority and Focus Schools were Atlanta Public Schools – removed “because they no longer meet the definition of a Priority or Focus school and have met the required improvements to exit,” APS said.

The following APS schools were released:

Focus Schools

Benteen Elementary School

  • Brown Middle School
  • Cleveland Avenue Elementary School
  • Dobbs Elementary School
  • Fickett Elementary School
  • Parkside Elementary School
  • Hope-Hill Elementary School

Priority Schools

  • Maynard H. Jackson High School
  • South Atlanta School of Health and Medical Science

As part of Georgia’s ESEA waiver, which granted flexibility from some provisions of No Child Left Behind, the GaDOE was required to identify Priority and Focus Schools. Priority Schools represent the lowest-performing 5 percent of Title I schools based on achievement data, plus schools with a graduation rate below 60 percent for two consecutive years. Focus Schools represent the lowest-performing 10 percent of Title I schools based on achievement gap data. That data examines the gap between a school’s lowest performing 25 percent of students and the state average, and the extent to which that gap is closing.

“Every school that made the necessary improvements to exit Priority or Focus School status deserves to be commended,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “The ongoing work of these schools, coupled with supports from GaDOE staff and RESAs, continues to move the needle and prove that underperforming schools can improve, even when they face difficult odds.

As Georgia transitions to the Every Student Succeeds Act, GaDOE will no longer identify Priority and Focus schools. Instead, GaDOE will be required to identify and support Comprehensive Support and Improvement and Targeted Support and Improvement schools.

“We are very pleased to learn that nine APS schools have been removed from the state’s Focus and Priority lists,” said APS Superintendent Meria J. Carstarphen. “While we are making strategic improvements with our transformation efforts, we still have much work to do toward improving student achievement.”

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