ATLANTA -- Two local elementary schools shone in the state spotlight last week when they were recognized for their series of improvement in student scores.
J.A. Maxwell and Thomson elementary schools were named Title I Distinguished Schools along with 44 others across Georgia. The schools were honored at a ceremony Friday night in Atlanta.
Maxwell Elementary Principal Mychelle Swain and Thomson Elementary Principal Donald Davis wave to school staff as they board the bus taking them to a banquet honoring Georgia Title I distinguished schools on Friday, May 7 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Both schools received an award of $74,125 each for earning the recognition five years in a row.
Title I is a federal reading-tutoring program for children from poor families, and schools where a large number students qualify for the extra help become designated as Title I schools.
Federal law requires these schools to aim for better and better scores on standardized tests.
"They have been consistently meeting their goals for five consecutive years," said Clara Keith, Title I director for the Georgia Department of Education.
Administrators for the schools were given a banquet Friday night in Atlanta when they picked up their honors and a check that can be used however each staff sees fit to further improve education.
In announcing the winning schools, Georgia Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox praised them. "They've got the right formula for improving achievement for all students," she said. "This is a trend we expect to see in all of Georgia's schools."
The students are tested each year. At these schools the number of students who scored below the state standard was reduced by at least 5 percent in both math and English each year.
Over that five-year period, the federal law concerning the standards for improvement changed, but Maxwell and Thomson Elementary met both the old and new requirements.
"That is outstanding because the rules changed in the middle of the time," Ms. Keith said.