CHATHAM COUNTY, GA (WTOC) - Five schools in Savannah-Chatham County are partnering with the state of Georgia to improve overall performance.
Brock Elementary, Shuman Elementary, Hubert Middle, Mercer Middle, and Savannah High School are now participating in the state turnaround program after some of those schools were identified by the governor’s office as schools that could potentially be taken over by the state.
But it never came down to that because the district asked to partner with the state instead.
The big thing to note is that the state isn't in control of these schools. This is a partnership between the governor's office and the school district.
School system staff members say that partnership and ability to work directly with the state's turnaround officer is a big plus.
The key things the district is focusing on for these five school are hiring and retaining good teachers, making classes smaller, and implementing 45 and 90-day turnaround plans working directly with the state.
In Brock, Shuman, and Savannah High, the principals turned over about 50 percent of the staff.
Each school also has different incentives and programs for students that are tailored to the student population at the schools.
Wednesday, the school board president commended the state's chief turnaround officer, Dr. Eric Thomas, for his work in the process.
"He wants us to be partners, and he's here to support us and the work that we're doing. I think he recognizes that everyone here is carrying the burden and the load and doing a majority of the work. So, they're a resource, not the person who's taking the lead and controlling what's being done,” SCCPSS School Board President Jolene Byrne said.
As a way of showing how successful this has been, the district says students at Shuman and Brock elementary are exceeding the growth expectations for them.
At Savannah High, the graduation rate increased to the highest rate they’ve seen since 2011 with 77 percent of students getting a degree.