On Jan. 9, Georgia released its annual lists of schools in need of support and improvement, and they reveal both successes and challenges for Bulloch County.
Langston Chapel Middle School, which was placed on the Targeted Support and Improvement Schools List (TSI) in 2023, successfully met the requirements to be removed from the list; however, Langston Chapel Elementary and Stilson Elementary are two of 78 schools on the state’s Additional Targeted Support and Improvement Schools List (ATSI), a designation they will have for the next three years through 2026, when the schools will be re-evaluated for possible removal.
Both LCMS and LCES had previously been placed on the TSI list in 2023, for the low mastery of academic content by its students with disabilities. No schools in the system were placed on the state’s Comprehensive Support Schools for this year. District leaders will be making a presentation about the lists and next steps to the Bulloch County Board of Education at its January 11 session.
“First, we celebrate Langston Chapel Middle School’s success,” said Bulloch County’s superintendent of schools, Charles Wilson. “The school’s administrators and faculty embraced the improvement process over the past year which included three of the school district’s instructional coaches – two instructional and one behavioral – being embedded within the school’s faculty.”
Teresa Phillips, Bulloch County Schools’ assistant superintendent of school improvement also noted that the middle school’s faculty worked together in some in-depth instructional planning in their grade-level groups, known as professional learning communities. Here they reviewed curriculum standards, made plans and reviewed student data. District leaders also regularly met with the school’s principal and administrative team.
Langston Chapel Elementary and Stilson Elementary were placed on the state’s Additional Targeted Support and Improvement School List after their third through fifth-grade students with disabilities’ academic performance on the Georgia Milestones Assessment System in April 2023, placed the schools in the lowest 5% of all schools in the state once the scores were reflected in the College and Career Ready Performance Index’s measurements of content mastery, progress, closing the gaps and readiness. The two schools will receive additional support from both the local school district and the state to help the schools’ faculty and students.
Georgia uses a staged identification process to identify TSI schools in two categories:
- Targeted Support & Improvement (TSI): Identifies any school with one or more consistently underperforming subgroups
- Additional Targeted Support & Improvement (ATSI): Among schools meeting the TSI criteria, identifies any school in which any student group, on its own, would be identified as a CSI school.
TSI schools are identified annually, while ATSI schools are identified every three years.
“We’ve known that our district has challenges with how we approach instruction for children with special needs, but we have been taking the necessary steps to make positive changes,” said Wilson. “It’s difficult work, but we are positioning ourselves to make sure all of our learners have what they need, particularly by using specially designed instruction that is better tailored to students with special needs.”
Phillips noted that Langston Chapel Elementary will continue to work through their improvement process which was set in motion last year. Stilson, though its first year as a school targeted for improvement, its leadership is quickly embracing the improvement process which includes creating a workable support plan with the district and state, collaboration with district directors, support from the district’s instructional and climate coaches, and professional learning for faculty.
Georgia’s List of Identified Schools for Additional Support
According to information released on January 9, by the Georgia Department of Education, its lists of schools identified for additional support are required by federal law. As part of the designation, states are federally required to identify their lowest-performing 5% of Title I schools, meaning there will always be identified schools even as performance statewide increases.
This year, Georgia updated its process to identify schools based on an amendment to its state Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan which was approved by the U.S. Department of Education in 2023. There are now four designations, each with increasing levels of support beginning with Targeted Support & Improvement (TSI), Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI), Comprehensive Support & Improvement (CSI), and Tier IV schools that are CSI schools that do not meet exit criteria after three years.
TSI schools are identified annually, while ATSI schools will be identified every three years. See the attached graphics for more information about how schools are identified and how they exit the state lists.