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State education bus tour stops at Maxwell Elementary

Student Council members at Maxwell Elementary got a workout Tuesday, walking all over the school building.

The student leaders acted as tour guides for the 65 education and business professionals on the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education's 14th Annual Bus Trip Across Georgia.

"It is really neat," said Student Council Member Nicole Bridges as she showed GPEE member Tom Upchurch around a second grade classroom. "It helps a little bit about how we can gain responsibility, and it helps us how we learn where things are. Then you learn to help people."

The tour was visiting a McDuffie County school for the second time in three years. Riders explored Thomson Elementary in 2004, but this year tour organizers chose Maxwell as one of the 14 stops across the state.

Bill Maddox, communications director for GPEE, said Maxwell's classrooms demonstrate education techniques that work.

"Every school selected shows achievement, or we wouldn't be here," Mr. Maddox said, adding that the riders are able to take ideas they come across back to their own jobs.

Riders on the tour said they were impressed with the school's approach to education, commenting that there was plenty on which to take notes.

"The classrooms I've been in, the teachers are doing a great job of making sure every child is actively involved in the lesson, and that's what we need," said Georgia Association of Educators President Jeff Hubbard. "The other thing here that's obvious is McDuffie County believes in lower class sizes, and that is going to increase student achievement over the long haul."

Maxwell Principal Mychelle Rhodes said she also hopes members of the tour notice the school's students-first focus.

"We are delighted to be able to showcase the best practices that we have focusing on reading and math, and most importantly, making decisions based on boys and girls," Dr. Rhodes said.

McDuffie County School Superintendent Mark Petersen said the choice to tour Maxwell was an excellent one for GPEE.

"Maxwell Elementary is going to be the standard-bearer, in terms of elementary schools," Dr. Petersen said.

According to a press release from Mr. Maddox, GPEE is a non-partisan group consisting of business, education, community and government leaders who are working toward educational excellence.

Web posted on Thursday, October 26, 2006

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