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The purpose of this e-mail newsletter is to help keep the District’s stakeholders informed of
education-related issues. The Board of Education appreciates your support of excellence in education.

First Day of School - Thursday, Aug. 5

Just a reminder - the first day of school is Thursday, August 5! Mark your calendars, set your alarms and prepare for a successful 2010-2011 school year!

Eighty-six Percent of Cobb Schools Make Adequate Yearly Progress

A preliminary review of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data released today shows 95 of 110 Cobb County schools met the continually increasing academic standards. Just 14 percent of Cobb schools, compared to 29 percent of all schools statewide, did not make AYP. Three Cobb middle schools - Cooper, Griffin and Smitha – were removed from ‘Needs Improvement’ status entirely.

Cooper Middle School principal Peggy Martin said, "I attribute Cooper making AYP to strategies and programs that we have implemented over the last few years.  We do school-wide collaboration, use data to drive instruction and provide tutoring and test taking strategies."  Cooper also engages its entire study body with Math Madness, a 15-minute daily math practice program that reinforces student learning through music and video!

The 15 Cobb schools that fell short of meeting AYP are: Acworth, Compton, Powder Springs and Riverside Intermediate elementary schools; Lindley 6th Grade Academy, Barber, Campbell, and Tapp middle schools; and Campbell, Kell, McEachern, Oakwood, Osborne, Pebblebrook and South Cobb high schools.

Cobb County again did not make AYP as a district, despite having 86 percent of its component schools meet the NCLB benchmarks. The performance of specific student subgroups, particularly in high school Mathematics, continues to hinder Cobb and other large metropolitan school districts from reaching the benchmarks considered for district AYP status.

More information, including individual school AYP reports, is available on the District Web site.

Supt. Fred Sanderson To Retire

Superintendent Fred Sanderson announced during the June 24 Board meeting his intention to retire following the completion of his contract in June, 2011. School board Chairwoman Lynnda Crowder-Eagle said, “Finding the right person to follow the excellent leadership of Fred Sanderson will be critical, and next June is not that far away. This is a big responsibility that our board takes very seriously, and we plan to take the time we have available to make a careful and informed decision. That will involve inviting the Georgia School Boards Association to conduct a workshop to educate our board on the process of finding a new superintendent. The more informed we are and the more research we do as a board, the better our chances of finding the right leader to continue our school district’s outstanding record of success.”

Board Receives Clean SPLOST Audits

At the July 22, 2010 meeting, the Board of Education received annual performance audits for both the SPLOST II & SPLOST III programs. The 2009 SPLOST II audit was conducted by Moore & Cubbedge, LLP, and the 2009 SPLOST III audit was conducted by Bates, Carter & Co., LLP. The purpose of the performance audits is to determine whether: 1) the sales tax proceeds are being disbursed in compliance with the SPLOST resolutions approved by the Board; 2) sales tax proceeds are disbursed in a fiscally responsible manner; 3) adequate controls have been established to ensure proper management of the sales tax proceeds received; 4) the District’s construction project expenditures are comparable to other school system building construction program expenditures in the metro Atlanta area; 5) the District’s technological expenditures are reasonable considering the volatile market environment for these products; and 6) investment of the sales tax proceeds received by the District has been conducted in a sound fiscal manner.

The audit must be performed in accordance with generally accepted governmental auditing standards and must conform to the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 20-2-491. The audit reports, which are both clean reports that included no findings or exceptions, are available on the school district web site here.

The good news story of SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) continues for Cobb County taxpayers. The following agenda items approved by the Board of Education are SPLOST-related and/or involve the use of SPLOST funds. In July 2010, the School Board:

• Approved alignment of the Capital Outlay Application with the SPLOST III program, for the purpose of funding science labs at McCleskey, Pine Mountain and Simpson middle schools.

• Approved appointment of CGLS Architects of Atlanta as architect for the Mableton Elementary replacement school.

• Awarded a contract to Nix Fowler Construction of Mableton for additions/renovations at Sprayberry High, at a cost of $9,696,000.

• Awarded a contract to Hensler & Beavers General Contractors of Doraville for additions/renovations at Cheatham Hill Elementary, at a cost of $1,781,590.

These projects were part of the SPLOST III program approved by Cobb County voters in 2008. To view the agenda items for the projects, please click here. To view the proposal for the SPLOST III referendum approved Sept. 16, 2008, please click here.

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Bus Routes Available Online, At Schools

Parents of Cobb County students can view their children's school bus routes for 2010-2011 starting today! Routes are available online and are posted at each school. Transportation personnel are also available to assist families and answer questions through the District's Bus Hotline at (678) 594-8000.

In addition, transportation staff members will be on hand at each elementary 'Sneek-A-Peek' day and middle school 'Meet and Greet' day to answer questions regarding student transportation. Check with your local school for event dates and times.

Transportation Awarded $1.24m Grant From EPA To Reduce Emissions

The District's Transportation Department has been awarded a $1.24 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the purpose of reducing diesel emissions from school buses.

The grant will be used to retrofit 108 Cobb County school buses with diesel particulate filters and 480 buses with advanced engine idle control systems. These enhancements will help improve air quality as the District transports more than 78,000 students each school day.

Read more on our CobbCast blog.

CRCT Scores Show Improvement In Math, Reading In Grades 5, 8

Cobb County fifth and eighth graders showed significant progress in math and reading performance on the spring 2010 administration of the CRCT. With an increased emphasis on monitoring student progress throughout the school year, the District's percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards improved across all content areas. Here are just a few of the CRCT accomplishments by individual schools:

Clarkdale Elementary posted strong gains in the percentage of students exceeding standards in both math and reading at the fifth grade level. In reading, the school decreased the percentage of students not meeting standards from 17 percent to only 9 percent while simultaneously increasing the percentage of students exceeding standards from 5 percent to 23 percent.

East Cobb Middle reduced the percentage of students not meeting math standards at the eighth grade level from 34 percent to 28 percent and at the seventh grade science level increased the percentage of students exceeding standards from 28 percent to 35 percent.

Cheatham Hill Elementary posted a 20 percentage point gain for students exceeding standards in 5th grade mathematics.

Palmer Middle School was able to successfully reduce the percentage of 8th grade students not meeting math standards from 13 percent to 9 percent while increasing the percentage of students exceeding standards from 42 percent to 50 percent.

Chalker Elementary also made significant reduction in the percentage of students not meeting math standards in fifth grade. The percentage dropped from 21 percent in 2009 to only 11 percent this year.

Austell Intermediate posted a 6 percent gain for students exceeding standards at the fifth grade level in mathematics.

Garrett Middle School decreased the percentage of 8th grade math students not meeting standards by more than half from last year, going from 38 percent last year to only 17 percent this year.

View individual school scores on the District Web site.

CobbcastCobb County Board of EducationLynnda Crowder-Eagle, Chairman Holli Cash, Vice Chairman
Dr. John Crooks David Morgan Dr. John Abraham • David Banks • Alison Bartlett

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