What Parents Need to Know
Is your child currently in middle school? Curious about what they are learning, what tests they will take, or what supports and options are in place to help them be successful? The Georgia Department of Education knows that as a parent you have questions and deserve answers. Whether your child just entered middle school or is about to transition to high school, hopefully you will find useful information that makes you a more informed parent and your student academically successful.
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What does my student need to know?
Assessments and Testing
Georgia Performance Standards
Georgia is currently implementing a new standards-based, world-class curriculum called the Georgia Performance Standards or GPS. The GPS outline clear expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level and in each core subject. Either click above to learn more about the standards or choose your student's grade level brochure below to see what your student will learn in each core subject during the school year.
Georgia Performance Standards in Mathematics
Students should experience mathematics as interesting, relevant, and important course of study and as a bridge to the real world of jobs and adult responsibilities. This means going beyond memorization into a world of inquiry, reasoning, and problem solving. As part of the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS), schools throughout Georgia began implementing a new mathematics curriculum in 2005 called the GPS for Mathematics. Grade 6 was implemented in 2005; K-2 and 7 in 2006; grades 3-5 and 8 in 2007; and grades 9-12 during 2008-2011. For more information click above or view the brochure below.
Courses and Textbooks
Click above to find detailed information about courses offered by Georgia schools and the textbooks used to teach them.
Lexile Framework for Reading
A Lexile is a measure of a student’s reading skill, indicating the reading difficulty of a book,a newspaper, or other reading material. It is a tool to assist students and their parents and teachers in selecting material that matches their students’ current reading comprehension. A Lexile map provides a sampling of titles matched to appropriate levels of reading ability. Click above to understand how Lexiles can be used to support students and to monitor their progress as they work to become better readers.
What supports are in place to help my student be successful?
Testing Information & Study Guides
There are many resources to help students prepare for standardized tests. Click above to view an explanation of the assessment programs administered across grade levels as well as to find resources to help your student prepare for the various assessments given in Georgia schools. Also, you will find general assessment program information and currently scheduled test administration dates.
The Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) are designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). All students in grades one through eight take the CRCT in the content areas of Reading, English/Language Arts, and Mathematics. Students in grades three through eight are also assessed in Science and Social Studies. Click above or view the CRCT Brochure below to learn more about the tests. Student study guides are also available below for review.
Georgia Online Assessment System
Click above to access tests that consist of the same kinds of questions that appear on the state's assessments in Reading, English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies in the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), the End of Course Tests (EOCT), and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT).
Georgia Writing Assessments
Based on Georgia Law, performance-based writing assessments are administered to students in grades three, five, eight, and eleven. Statewide writing assessments serve the purpose of improving student writing and writing instruction. Click above or view the GA Writing Assessment Brochure to learn more about these tests.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
NAEP is often called the "Nation's Report Card." It is the only measure of student achievement in the United States that allows you to compare the performance of students in your state with the performance of students across the nation or in other states. Not all students or grade levels in the state are tested and the test is not given every year. To learn more about the NAEP test click above.
Norm-Referenced Test (Iowa Tests of Basic Skills)
Georgia Law mandates that each local school system may elect to administer, with state funding, nationally norm-referenced instruments in Reading, Mathematics, Science, or Social Studies in grade three, four, or five and in grade six, seven, or eight, subject to available appropriations, with assistance to such school systems by the State Board of Education with regard to administration guidance, scoring, and reporting of such assessments. The purpose of the test is to obtain information about how the performance of Georgia's students compare with that of students in a national sample, an external reference group. To learn more about the norm-referenced test click above.
Promotion and Retention
The Georgia Academic Placement and Promotion Policy requires that students in eighth grade meet or exceed expectations on the CRCT in Reading and Mathematics in order to be promoted. The goal is to assure that students are performing at grade level in these key academic areas before moving on to the next grade. To learn more click above or your student’s grade level brochure below.
What options may be available to my student?
School Guidance and Counseling Services
Click above to find out information about school counselors and the school counseling program in Georgia. Counselors can provide students with a variety of information and support. This covers everything from helping students select classes and identify possible careers to obtaining personal and psychological counseling. If you are a parent, and think your child would benefit from the services of a school counselor, please contact your local school. If you believe that your child is not getting the type of counseling he or she needs, please contact your local school district central office.
Graduation Coaches identify at-risk students and help them succeed in school by keeping them on track academically before they consider dropping out. The coaches identify, recruit and engage parents and concerned adults, organizations and government agencies to serve in a variety of ancillary roles. To find out more about the role of Graduation Coaches click on the link above or view the brochure below. To find out if your school has a graduation coach, contact your school’s principal.
School Social Work
Click above to find out information about school social workers in Georgia. School social workers serve as the vital link between home, school and community. They help address non-academic issues in the lives of students and their families to ensure academic success in the classroom. If you are a parent, and think your child would benefit from the services of a school social worker, please contact your local school.
Student Support Teams
Student Support Teams (SST) exist in every Georgia school and function as problem-solving groups. Students are referred to the SST for the purpose of finding ways around the roadblocks that impede the student’s success. Any unresolved problem that is impeding the learning process may be referred to the SST, by a teacher, administrator, parent or even a student. Click above to learn more about this program.
21st Century Community Learning Centers
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provides federal funds to establish or expand before school, after school, or summer school learning opportunities for eligible students. To learn more about 21st Century Community Learning Centers or to locate a center in your area click above.
Supplemental Educational Services (SES)
Supplemental Educational Services (SES) are free tutoring and academic enrichment services offered to eligible students in Title I schools to increase academic achievement. SES are high quality research-based educational programs. These services provide additional academic instruction, and are offered outside of the regular school day. To determine if your student is eligible or to find a list of SES providers in your area click above or contact your local school.
Remedial Education Program
The Remedial Education Program is an instructional program designed for students in grades 6-12 who have identified deficiencies in reading, writing, and math. This program provides individualized basic skills instruction as mandated by Georgia Law in the areas of reading, mathematics, and writing. Click above to learn more.
Homeless Children and Youth Education Program
The McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth program is designed to address the problems that homeless children and youth face in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. To learn more about this program and the services it offers click on the link above.
Migrant Education Program
The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is a federally funded program designed to support comprehensive educational programs for migrant children to help reduce the educational disruption and other problems that result from repeated moves. To learn more about this program and to see if your child qualifies for services click on the link above.
Neglected and Delinquent Children Education Program
The Neglected and Delinquent Children Education Program is designed to improve educational services in local and State institutions, as well as in residential facilities. In addition, it provides these children with services needed to ensure graduation from high school and to make a successful transition from institutionalization to completing school, continuing education or employment. To learn more about this program and the services it offers click on the link above.
School Psychological Services
School psychologists are employed in Georgia schools in order to prevent or deal with the most severe learning and behavior problems. They consult on academic and behavioral interventions with teachers, parents and Student Support Teams (SST). They advise on every level of the Response to Intervention (RTI), from the most basic approaches up to the level of highly specialized program interventions. To learn more about school psychologists click on the link above or contact your local school to see how your child can benefit from these services.
Response to Intervention
Response to Intervention (RTI ) is a learning process that matches general education classroom instruction to each student’s learning needs. In other words, educators respond to a student’s academic and/or behavior challenge with the right amount of intensity in classroom learning supports. These instructional techniques are called interventions. In Georgia, educators respond with instructional interventions, through a four-tier instructional-support process called the Georgia Student Achievement Pyramid of Interventions. Delivery of interventions at each tier is based on the student’s success in meeting the Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). Interventions intensify at each escalating tier. To learn more click on the link above.
English Language Learners
English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) is a state funded instructional program for eligible English Language Learners (ELLs) in grades K-12. Title III is a federally funded program which provides eligible Local Education Agencies (LEAs) with subgrants to provide supplemental services for ELLs. Both ESOL and Title III hold students accountable for progress and attainment in English language proficiency. The ESOL Program is a standards-based curriculum emphasizing social and academic language proficiency which enables (ELLs) to use English to communicate and demonstrate academic, social, and cultural proficiency. To learn more about this program click on the link above.
What else may I need to know?
Georgia Virtual School
The Georgia Virtual School is an internet-based public school housed in the Georgia Department of Education serving public, private, and home schooled students throughout the state. Georgia certified teachers guide students through each course online as they would in a traditional school setting. Virtual courses can be taken as actual classes during the school day or as a supplement to further enhance or improve a student’s course of study. To learn more or to register for a class click above
Charter schools are public schools that operate with freedom from many of the local and state regulations that apply to traditional public schools. Charter schools allow parents, community leaders, and others the flexibility to innovate and provide students with increased educational options within the public school system. To learn more about Charter Schools click above.
Georgia provides equal opportunity to students with special needs through three state-run schools: Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Georgia School for the Deaf, and Georgia Academy for the Blind. To learn more about these schools click above.
Magnet schools are public schools that offer a targeted learning environment that attract students interested in specific content areas, such as mathematics, science, technology and fine arts. To learn more about these schools or to see a list of magnet schools in Georgia click above.
Georgia strives to provide an inspiring and meaningful educational experience to students who have academic or behavior learning needs that may best be met in a non-traditional setting. To learn more click above.
Georgia Special Needs Scholarship
The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship provides eligible special education students with school choice opportunities. To learn more about this program or to find out if your student is eligible click above.
If a child attends a Title I school that has been identified by the state for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, parents can choose to send their child to another public school that is not so identified. Districts must let parents know each year if their child is eligible to transfer to another school, and districts must give parents more than one transfer option if more than one exists. To learn more about public school choice click above.
School Choice: Intradistrict Transfers
Under Georgia law O.C.G.A. 20-2-2131, parents of K-12 public school students in Georgia now have the option to enroll their child in any school that is located within the local school district in which they now reside. By July 1 of each year, school systems must notify parents of schools in the district which have available space and which of these schools parents may choose to request a transfer for their children. To learn more about this law click on the link above.
School Calendars 2009-2010
Click above for a complete list of school calendars for the 2009 – 2010 school year.
The School Nutrition Program works to help local school systems deliver quality breakfast and lunch meals, as well as to provide education programs that contribute to the nutritional well-being of students to increase academic performance at school. To learn more about School Nutrition Programs click above.
Young Georgia Authors' Writing Competition
The purpose of the Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition is to encourage students to develop writing skills that represent their best efforts, providing a context for schools to support and celebrate the writing successes of all students, and to encourage and recognize student achievement in writing throughout Georgia. All students currently enrolled in Georgia public schools, kindergarten through twelfth grade are eligible to apply, however other entry requirements apply. Click above for more information.