Exceptional programs, stellar student achievement and community involvement at Thomson Elementary School drew the attention of officials and educators from around the state who were part of an official visit to the school Sept. 23.
About 65 leaders in education, business and government visited Thomson Elementary as part of the annual Georgia Partnership For Excellence in Education's tour to top schools around the state.
TES Principal Donald Davis greets visitors.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
"I take joy from the recognition that is coming to the school. It's a humbling experience to be selected for this tour," said Dr. Donald Davis, principal.
More than 150 schools across the state were nominated, but only 14 were selected to be on the annual bus tour designed to showcase excellence in Georgia schools.
"I enjoy the opportunity to see different schools and how they do business," said Charles Smith, principal from Willis Road Elementary School in Newnan.
"It's nice to see quality education in the schools," he said.
While officials observed the classes, students seemed to enjoy the attention.
"A visitor came by and took my picture and looked at my work," Ceroviaa Scott said proudly after a group left Shannon Reeves' second grade class.
Another class member, Charlie Thompson, said "Someone helped me play phonics bingo."
Phonics bingo is just one way teachers use hands on activities, visual props and other innovative methods to reinforce skills.
In a kindergarten class, students were observing a bowl of apples of various sizes and colors. They sat in a semi circle, discussing what made three green apples different from the rest. It wasn't size, and it wasn't color.
TES PE teacher Jennifer Gibson is filmed as she works.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
"Those don't have anything on top, and these do," said Alexis Pinkston, referring to the stems.
Teachers use visual techniques like this to help students succeed academically and achieve solid test scores.
A graphic display of test scores posted in the orientation room caught the eye of one visitor, a member of a child advocacy group.
"I am impressed with the attention to data and how well it is displayed. We know how important it is to collect the data," said Pat Willis of Voices for Georgia.
Part of the school's success comes from using whole group and small group work in classrooms. In addition, the school has set reasonable goals, developed plans of action, implemented those plans and evaluated the results, according to a statement from Dr. Davis.