The Dougherty County School Board received an evaluation of both Monroe High and Dougherty Comprehensive High School TMs math departments during their meeting on Monday night, and although they called the presentation brutally honest, they also say it was needed.
For years, students at both schools have fallen short of county and state standards when it comes to math. Those results were calculated by the Georgia Department of Education who then went a step further into finding out how they got there.
"We wanted to share with them that we looked at the practices in the area of mathematics at both of those schools," said Dr. Samuel Taylor, the Program Manager for District Effectiveness with the Georgia Department of Education.
In March, three teams of four people from the district, school and state department went into each classroom to evaluate the teachers practices to see if they played a role in the low statistics.
"We had two standards. We had the instructional strategy and the positive learning environment and so each individual went in there with their own rubric and they assessed the effectiveness of that teacher," said Dr. Taylor.
In the instructional strategy evaluation, around 70% of the teachers from both schools fell into the needs improvement or ineffective category, which officials say is alarming. However, they instructed the school board that it could be turned around, and members like Darrel Ealum say this is the change they've been waiting for.
"Tonight was the first time that I've had someone go right to the heart of the issue and say we've got a serious problem and if you want to solve that problem, it's A, B and C," said Ealum.
The state says the change begins with the superintendent, administrator within the school and individual teachers, who should all fall into the most effective category when dealing with the lowest achieving students. The board says they're in the position to make that happen, and they've signed on for the challenge.
"It's reassuring to me that this board is committed to making the necessary changes and now the ball will be in our court to make the kinds of recommendations that will stand the test of time," said DCSS Interim Superintendent Dr. David C. Mosely.
Although the change won't be immediate, officials say they believe the schools can make a solid turnaround within 3-4 years if they follow the plan.