Lithia Springs High School
Lithia Springs, GA
Facing some of the lowest student achievement scores and graduation rates in the state of Georgia, Jessica Ainsworth was charged with implementing a federal School Improvement Grant to turn around a struggling culture and climate at Lithia Springs High School. She did this by instituting The MANE Thing, a six-pronged initiative that reflects a clear purpose and vision for academic success. Ainsworth involved all stakeholders in the emphasis on classroom instruction, intervention programs, assessment and performance data analysis, attendance, behavior and supervision, and parent engagement.
Her efforts have led to consistent increases in reading scores across all subgroups, most notably a tripling of the reading proficiency rate among students with disabilities from 27 percent to 83 percent. Success is also evident in increases in the graduation rate, job placements, and college acceptances. Despite a focus on achievement data, Ainsworth values the students behind the numbers and maintains strong relationships with stakeholders. Students describe Ainsworth as approachable and teachers value the professional development opportunities she regularly creates for them.