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