ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Education has released a list of the 78 worst performing schools in the state as part of its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.
Nearly half of those schools are in the Metro Atlanta area. Of the schools listed, 14 are Atlanta Public Schools, nine are in DeKalb County and three are in Gwinnett County. Fulton and Cobb County each have one school on the list.
The list identifies the state's "priority" schools -- those that consistently perform poorly on tests, have low graduation rates or are already receiving federal improvement funds.
To be considered a "Priority School," one would have a graduation rate of 60 percent or less for two consecutive years, have low achievement on standardized tests or receive School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds to implement a school intervention model.
All of the schools considered are Title 1 schools, containing a high concentration of students from low-income homes.
The categorization is part of a new school evaluation system and one of the biggest changes to come with the end of No Child Left Behind in Georgia.
State Superintendent Dr. John Barge says the changes mean a more thorough evaluation of student performance.
"What's different from No Child Left Behind, we're not just labeling the school a failing school or not making AYP," he said. "You made AYP or you didn't make AYP, but what did that mean? Do you know why your school didn't make AYP?"
"With this system, you know where the issues are. You know what the issues are."
Priority schools will receive federal money toward improvement. Each school will also be assigned an improvement specialist to help develop a plan and monitor the school's progress.
The state was one of 10 states to win waivers last month from the highly criticized federal law. More states are expected to apply for relief.
The other designations for school performance under Georgia's waiver are: alert schools, focus schools and reward schools. All designations will be handed out by the fall.
The schools named in metro Atlanta include:
Atlanta Area School for the Deaf
Georgia School for the Deaf
Atlanta Public Schools
APS-Forrest Hills Academy
Booker T. Washington High School - Banking, Finance and Investment
Booker T. Washington High School - Health, Sciences and Nutrition
Crim High School
Douglass High School
Hillside Conant School
Maynard H. Jackson, Jr. High School
School of Health Sciences and Research at Carver
School of Technology at Carver
South Atlanta School of Computer Animation and Design
South Atlanta School of Health and Medicine
Therrell School of Engineering, Math and Science
Therrell School of Health and Science
Therrell School of Law, Government and Public Policy
Temple High School
Devereux Ackerman Academy
Clarkston High School
DeKalb Alternative School
DeKalb Transition School
DeKalb/Rockdale PsychoEducation Center
Elizabeth Andrews High School
International Student Center
Indian Creek Elementary School
McNair High School
Toney Elementary School
Towers High School
Inner Harbour School
Lithia Springs Comprehensive School
McClarin Alternative School
Greene County High School
Gwinnett InterVention Education (GIVE) Center East
Gwinnett InterVention Education (GIVE) Center West
Meadowcreek High School
Henry County High School
Greenville High School
Challenge Charter Academy
Paulding County High School
Griffing High School
The Associated Press contributed to this report.