J.H.S. 226 Virgil I. Grissom

Grades 6-8

What’s Special

Small themed academies

The Downside

Safety is an on-going concern

Our Review

JHS 226 is an unusually large middle school with uneven performance that has a history of issues with safety despite surveillance cameras, security guards and a reward program for positive behavior. The addition of two new schools offers JHS 226 a chance to improve safety and performance with reduced numbers of students.

Students choose one of four small learning academies, each with a different focus from Humanities Academy for Performing Arts, Discovery and Exploration, Visionaries Academy for Science and Technology, or Renaissance Academy for Broadcast Journalism.

Grant money and partnerships help expose students to special opportunities in each academy, according to the school's yearly plan. These include video teleconferencing equipment for distance-learning; a partnership with the American Globe Theaterfor workshops on Shakespeare; andAlvin Aileydance classes.

Students in each academy work on projects related to the theme, and these are displayed or performed at quarterly events. Humanities students focus on music, art, poetry and drama. Broadcast journalism students create newspapers, comics or magazines using digital media. In the Visionary Academy students use science and technology in web design, robotics, air and space explorations, Power Point projects and video gaming.[photo at right of a dance performance posted by a student onYouTube]

Discovery and Exploration is a hub for 6th graders "to explore the junior high school experience through rigor, discipline, creativity, and culture," according to the school's website.An honors program called ARP, short for Advanced Regents Program, enables top students to get high school credit in math and science.

A school as large as JHS 226 has perks that are not always available at a smaller school including a concert band that plays all genres of music from Broadway to jazz to modern rock. A series of after-school clubs include drama, dance, poetry, creative writing, chorus, art and technology. Older students get a chance to take a trip to Washington D.C.

Safety, however, has been an ongoing concern. The school has appeared on a list of "persistently dangerous" schools in recent years and in 2012 a child accidentally shot pepper spray in the cafeteria, affecting about 30 students. Over half the students report physical fights are a common occurrence at the school on the Learning Environment Survey.

Principal Rushell White took the helm in 2010. She has increased the number of after-school clubs and quickly learned the names of all students and staff. She won an Eyewitness News "above and beyond" award in her first year. But test scores remain mediocre and she has come under scrutiny over testing practices at the school.

As two new schools phase in, the numbers at JHS will decline until there are about 950 students by 2017. Hawtree Creek Middle School opened in 2013, and a new high school, currently unnamed, will open with about 80 ninth-graders beginning in 2014.

Admissions: Neighborhood school (Lydie Raschka, web reports, October 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
917
Asian
21.4%
Black
36.5%
Hispanic
16.0%
White
0.8%
Other
25.3%
Free or reduced priced lunch
86%
Students with disabilities
20%
English language learners
6%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with Hawtree Creek Middle and EPIC High School South
Uniforms required?
Yes
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
71%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
94%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
16%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
42%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
50%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
59%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
22%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

Years of principal experience at this school
5.8
6.0 Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
62%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
73%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
63%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
86%
72% Citywide Average
Teacher attendance
96%
96% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
67%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
56%
86% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
18%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
26%
30% Citywide Average

Arts offerings

This school has 4 dedicated spaces for Music, Visual arts, an Auditorium, and a Film Studio
This school has 7 licensed arts teachers in Dance (part-time), Music (part-time), Visual arts (part-time), and Theater

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
74%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
48%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
68%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

Accelerated courses offered for high school credit
English, Spanish, Algebra I, Living Environment
How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
19%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
87%
84% Citywide Average
What high schools do most graduates attend?
John Adams HS, Hillcrest HS, and Richmond Hill HS
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve English Language Learners?

How many English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
4%
5% Citywide Average
How many former English language learners score 3-4 on the State ELA exam?
0%
14% Citywide Average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

This school offers self-contained classes
This school offers team teaching (ICT)
Average math score for ICT students
1.72
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.87
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.84
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.06
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.02
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.26
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
48%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
79%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
85%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
80%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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