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Thomson High honored for improved test scores

Thomson High School received an award Tuesday from the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, but administrators say the rainbow came with a gray cloud.

The 2006 Bronze Award was awarded to the school "for greatest gain in percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards," yet it came a few weeks after the denial of the appeal of the Adequate Yearly Progress results.

"We are thrilled at the honor for our school system, but our emotions are tempered with the reality that our AYP appeal wasn't honored," Assistant Principal Lynn Cato said.

Of the more than 370 high schools in the state, Thomson High was one of 48 to receive an award. According to the state education website, THS had 8.89 percent more students pass the Georgia High School Graduation Test than last year, placing them above 95.06 percent of the other high schools in Georgia.

"That much of a gain, and not making AYP, it's not jiving. It's bittersweet. We are happy to receive it, but we are disappointed," Principal Rudy Falana said.

The graduation test is the assessment tool used for AYP for high schools. AYP is a series of annual performance goals set by the state for each school for the realization of the No Child Left Behind Act.

School Superintendent Mark Petersen appealed the school's failure of AYP based on questions he had about the way scores of graduation tests are calculated. Thomson had 10th graders who were counted as "participants," but the state did not count their scores. Also, the AYP-required score is higher than the score required by the state for graduation.

"It doesn't make any sense to anyone," Mr. Falana said. "We are doing well, but obviously not well enough. We will continue to strive and work and do even better."

Web posted on Thursday, September 28, 2006

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