Two schools in Henry County are among 824 statewide named Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools, by State School Superintendent John Barge.
Hampton Elementary and McDonough Elementary received the distinction this year, for the eighth straight year. Each got a $1,530 award. The awards, paid from federal funds, are bestowed upon Title I schools who make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) ten or more years.
“We are very excited for our students and community to be awarded the Distinguished Title I recognition for the eighth consecutive year,” said Debbie Collins, principal at Hampton Elementary School, in Hampton. “It is a true sign of the dedication of the faculty, staff, parents, and community that supports the students at Hampton Elementary School.”
Title I schools have significant populations of students who are economically disadvantaged, and they receive federal money to assist with the education of their students. School officials point out, in order to be recognized, the schools had to make AYP at least three years in a row.
Six other Henry County schools were recognized with Title I Schools Academic Achievement Awards this year, and were given certificates.
Stockbridge Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Pleasant Grove Elementary, and Mt. Carmel Elementary schools were named for the seventh straight year. Also, Smith-Barnes Elementary School was labeled a distinguished school for the sixth straight year, and Walnut Creek Elementary School was named for the second straight year.
“These schools are showing that high expectations, coupled with effective educators in the building, produce outstanding student achievement,” said Superintendent Barge. “I’m very pleased to recognize the educators, students and parents in these schools and school districts.
“With the academic bar increasing each year, it is not easy to continue making AYP,” Barge added. “These 824 schools have proven that it can be done, even when there are challenges.”
Hampton Principal Debbie Collins credited the school’s Title I programs as instrumental in overcoming challenges facing less-affluent schools like hers. Collins said the school is able to have tutors assist students at all grade levels, with math and reading skills. She said the school provides the remediation and enrichment during the school day, before school, and after school. It also offers English as a second language, parenting skills, and academic-help workshops for parents throughout the year.
“Another piece of the recognition puzzle is that the teachers work diligently every day to meet the needs of children in their care,” said Collins. “Teachers collaborate to plan lessons and learn new strategies to guide the students to mastery of the curriculum.”
The principal acknowledged that the school’s overall results on the statewide Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) were below the school’s expectations. She said the school made AYP in all subgroups in math, but with 76.3 percent of the overall student body meeting, and exceeding expectations. The school also made AYP in reading for all subgroups, with 84.9 percent of pupils meeting and exceeding state standards.
“... Overall, our CRCT scores were not as high as we had hoped they would be,” Collins said. “However, there is more to a successful school than just test scores.
“As one of the oldest schools in our county, we work diligently to provide community events for learning for students and parents,” she added. “We are a community school that cares for students each and every day, and provides them with support and enrichment and genuine concern for their futures. It is a privilege to be a part of such a great community school where we ensure success for each student, and where students are our first priority.”