One Bibb elementary school has a big reason to celebrate. L.H. Williams was removed from the governor's chronically failing school list.

Mrs. Shirley Jordan has high expectations for her 5th grade class at Williams.

“They can do this,” Jordan said. “They are not failures. I tell them what to do. I don’t want to hear what I can't do or, 'I can’t do this.'”

Those expectations and the data they get from students is what drives instruction in her classroom.
Shandrina Griffin-Stewart is the school’s principal.

“We look at data as, 'These are the facts and this is our point of where we are and where do we want to move our students,' and moving our students means that students are mastering the Georgia Standards of Excellence,” Griffin-Stewart said.

Students like Ronmeisha Perkins want to do their part to earn L.H. Williams high marks.

“When we heard that our schools are failing, we got to do something about this, so everybody just started bringing their grades up and doing better on the Georgia Milestones,” Ronmeisha said.

L.H. Williams earned a score of 62.7 on College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) grading scale.

To calculate that they look at Milestones scores, reading levels, and other factors like behavior, attendance and innovations.

“With our students, we focus more on them making academic progress than just making a 100,” Griffin-Stewart said.

Erion Smith is excited for what the future may hold for the school since his two children have several more years left.

“It's great for our community for the whole Bibb County at the same time, because I went there,” Smith said.

As for Jordan, just getting off the list isn’t enough. She wants their score to be even higher. She and other faculty have a goal of 75. She knows what it takes to get there.

“When you instill in a child that they can be successful and you believe in them and you motivate them, then that child their able to move on,” Jordan said. “Children know when you care about them and a child senses that they’re going to do good and work hard for you as well.”

Last year, Governor Nathan Deal proposed a plan to let the state take over failing schools, but voters rejected that in November.