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February 9-- State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge today announced that the U.S. Department of Education has granted Georgia’s waiver of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Superintendent Barge joined nine other state school chiefs at the White House for the announcement. Georgia is among a group of only 10 states to receive a waiver from NCLB.

“This is wonderful news for Georgia’s students, educators, and parents,” said Superintendent Barge. “No longer will we be bound by the narrow definitions of success found in No Child Left Behind. We will now be able to hold schools accountable and reward them for the work they do in all subjects and with all students.”

Governor Nathan Deal added, “This waiver will give Georgia the flexibility we need to pursue our goals of student achievement. We appreciate the cooperation of federal officials as we seek to prepare young Georgians for higher education and the jobs of tomorrow.”

As part of the waiver, the Georgia Department of Education will begin identifying Priority Schools, Focus Schools, and Reward Schools (see attached chart for details). Achievement data from all core content areas and graduation rate data will be used to identify these schools. At the end of this current school year, these Priority Schools and Focus Schools will replace current Needs Improvement Schools. Reward Schools will replace the current Distinguished Schools designation and will be announced in September 2012.  

Georgia will also identify Alert Schools in three categories:  Subgroup Alert Schools, Subject Alert Schools, and Graduation Alert Schools.  These Alert Schools will be identified based on a more detailed evaluation of subgroup performance.