ATLANTA -- A report released Tuesday by the state department of education identified 156 educational facilities as Focus Schools under its new accountability system.
Seven of the schools are in the Gwinnett County Public Schools district. Those listed include Norcross High, Sweetwater Middle, Rosebud Elementary, Berkmar High, Lilburn Middle, Central Gwinnett High and Summerour Middle.
The labels of Priority Schools, Focus Schools, Alert Schools and Reward Schools will replace the designations used in the federal No Child Left Behind initiative. President Barack Obama granted waivers for the federal mandates in February.
The Focus Schools category is made up of educational facilities which have graduation rates of less than 60-percent over a two-year period and are not identified as priority schools.
The department of education may also name a school to the list if large within-school gaps exist between the highest achieving subgroup and the lowest achieving subgroup. Subgroups can be determined by race, special needs and family income.
Local schools named on the Focus list for less than a 60-percent graduation rate were Norcross, Berkmar and Central Gwinnett. Those listed as Focus Schools for within-school achievement gaps were Sweetwater Middle, Rosebud Elementary, Lilburn Middle and Summerour Middle.
Sloan Roach, district spokesperson with GCPS, said the category of Focus Schools "is an apt description of these schools because while they have accomplished many good things to date, their focus continues to be on closing achievement gaps and helping all children reach their learning potential."
Added Roach: "We will be working with the state to review the data for these seven schools and to determine how we can best support improvement."
The department of education released a separate list on March 12, which named 78 of the state's lowest performing, or Priority Schools, a document that included Gwinnett InterVention Education Center East, Gwinnett InterVention Education Center West and Meadowcreek High School.
A representative with the state board of education said the 78 facilities were designated as priorities because they were "among the lowest in the state in terms of achievement measures" such as graduation rates and test scores.
Schools once targeted by No Child Left Behind as "needs improvement" will be replaced by the new designations. All designations will be announced by the fall.
Two of the three local schools that made the list are alternative schools which are for students on long-term suspension for disciplinary matters, according to Sloan Roach, spokesperson for Gwinnett County Public Schools.
For more information, visit www.doe.k12.ga.us.