Savannah-Chatham school board discusses new rubric for choice program lottery

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham County School Board members are reviewing changes to the school choice program lottery.

The program allows students to go to a different school than the one in their zone.

While board members went back and forth about the new method, the policy didn’t require a vote. That means a rubric to decide who will be eligible for choice programs will go into place.

“I have a problem with what we’re telling our students.”

Currently school staff looks at attendance, GPA, and conduct when deciding if a student will be entered into the choice program lottery.

Several principals explained a new rubric to decide if a child is placed in the lottery. It uses a point system from zero to three across five categories. Students will have to get a score of 100 out of 300 to be considered.

Each category holds a different weight. English and language arts assessments and math assessments are worth 20% each, GPA worth 30% and attendance and discipline worth 15% each.

“This rubric actually provides more access to students who may have strengths in different areas. They’re stronger in maybe a math assessment or ELA assessment but on the cusp of performing well in academically. The rubric allows that latitude and flexibility to accentuate those strengths that students have,” said Dr. Jimmie Cave, the principal of STEM Academy at Bartlett.

While several board members are in favor of the new rubric.

“Your work has set a threshold for success.”

Board member Michael Johnson and board president Roger Moss had some worries.

“My biggest concern is that we maintain the rigor it is to get into these programs and safeguard spaces for those kids who have applied the rigor.”

Dr. Cave says this rubric will also help provide yearly data for district faculty and staff to monitor students’ performance.

“It provides a laser focus for our educators in determining what students bring to the table in our schools and how we can best support them.”

Students who want to attend Garrison and Savannah Arts Academy will still have to audition before being accepted.