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AYP Doesn't Tell CHS' Whole Story

Other gains aren't taken into consideration in determining Adequate Yearly Progress, principal Debra Murdock said.

Editor's note: . One of them––received "Needs Improvement" status because it did not meet Adequate Yearly Progress targets for the second year in a row. Principal Debra Murdock sent this letter to Patch.

We were aware of the results and very frustrated that the NCLB law continues to hold excellent schools like Cherokee High School in Needs Improvement Status when they have proven time and again to be successful. For example, Cherokee High School’s graduation rate did not meet AYP standards because the NCLB law holds students who receive a special education diploma against your graduation rate. If you take only our true drop outs which include a high percentage of “drop out” students who received a GED and are now in college or technical school into consideration, the true graduation rate would be 85% hitting the AYP mark which would grant AYP status.

Cherokee High School continues to make outstanding gains in SAT, EOCT, and AP scores, none of which currently are taken into consideration in determining AYP. The CHS SAT average was 1606 in the previous school year which was 97 points above the National average of 1509 and 153 points above the state average of 1453. CHS students continued to excelled on End of Course Testing and Advanced Placement testing where 80% of our AP students earned college credit with their AP scores. Cherokee High School students earned more than $3 million in scholarship money, not including the HOPE scholarship and graduated the first Freshman Academy Class this past year.  Cherokee High School was designated by Atlanta Magazine as one of Atlanta’s Best. In addition, Cherokee High School won the 2010 Bronze Medal awarded by the Georgia Department of Education for students meeting or exceeding the standard on standardized testing.

As you can see, all Cherokee High School shareholders have much to be proud of with our outstanding accomplishments. We will continue to offer extra instruction, credit recovery and a mentoring program to strive for the AYP designation.

Debra Murdock, Cherokee High principal

Brad Ellis July 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM
True story. Thank you for the real view of Cherokee High !
Robert July 22, 2011 at 01:13 PM
Year after year they fail to make the grade but hey if you change the measurements then maybe we can fudge the numbers and look good. But given this sentence "CHS students continued to excelled on End of Course Testing and Advanced Placement testing where 80% of our AP students earned college credit with their AP scores." it is not really a surprise that the school struggles. If you are going to pop off at the mouth about how good the school is perhaps proof reading should be a priority.
Eric July 23, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Our oldest graduated from CHS two years ago, and is doing extremely well at UGA; so from my perspective they've done things right. Don't get me wrong, we've had our concerns about the school, but overall we're happy with the situation. Our second child starts there this year, and I have to say I've been very impressed with the few times I've met Ms. Murdock. Given the fact that they've added two AP classes for freshmen (a feat not accomplished by any other Cherokee County school I believe), I'd say they continue to be on the right track. Ms. Murdock, please keep up the good work, and we continue to look forward to continued improvements!
Chris July 23, 2011 at 08:44 PM
As a parent whose child has been under Debbie Murdock for 2 years and is starting a third, I take great offense to the comment Robert has made. A "typo" is just that, a typo. Ms. Murdock accomplished more at Teasley Middle School in one year, than any previous administration in many years. Parents were once again very proud to say their kids were attending Teasley. In her first year at Cherokee High School, Ms. Murdock has instilled confidence and pride in the students that has been lacking in the past. She has more ideas and programs that are yet to come. Cherokee is no longer in a "follow the leader position" in this county, but is poised to BE the leader. The students now have an administrator who always puts the best interest of the student first. Occasionally that might not be what the student wants, but what is best for him or her. If Robert has a student at Cherokee, I am sure Ms. Murdock would love a chance to speak with him about any concerns he may have. If he does not, which would be my guess, then let him take issue with whatever school concerns him. As far as "popping off at the mouth", Robert maybe you should read your own letter. And by the way, my oldest graduated from Cherokee and just graduated with honors from South University with a Doctorate in Pharmacy. My middle child is a sophmore at Cherokee in all honors and AP classes and will most likely choose Georgia Tech to pursue an engineering degree. I mention this just so you know I speak from experience.

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