Cobb County’s Problem School Intervention

The performance of four schools in Cobb County, Georgia have been so problematic that Superintendent Michael Hinojosa describes them as “schools with hair on fire,” meriting intervention from special teams, writes Ty Tagami at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“This is not necessarily a punitive thing, but it is a serious thing,” Hinojosa said. “These schools popped up as the ones that need the most support.”

The school intervention plan for Pebblebrook High, South Cobb High, Lindley Sixth Grade Academy and Powder Springs Elementary is expected to come up at the next board meeting.

Board chair Alison Bartlett said that she agrees with the method Hinojosa used to pick the schools.

“He looked at an overall matrix,” she said. It included parental involvement and feedback from teachers. “It was an overall big picture.”

The schools are not necessarily obvious selections. They aren’t all at the bottom of traditional test measures, such as the standards that determine performance under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Test scores. But all of the schools are in the southern part of the county and comprise a large number of students from households with less money.

The schools:

Pebblebrook is a known as a magnet for performing arts.

South Cobb, which just opened a new center that shelters freshmen from the rest of the students, is known for its famous alumni, such as former Gov. Roy Barnes.

Lindley was recently split off from a standard sixth through eighth grade school. Uniforms were introduced, and boys were separated from girls.

Powder Springs failed to meet federal testing benchmarks and tumbled onto the “needs improvement” list last year.

Teams will go into each school to oversee teachers and student behavior, such as activity in the hallways and develop methods for improvement and will monitor performance monthly. Among the measures of success: better performance on tests and in coursework.

The teams will stay in the schools as long as necessary, probably through next semester. “We want these schools to show improvement,” Hinojosa said.