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Freeman's Mill, McConnell make list of 23 Georgia Schools of Excellence

LAWRENCEVILLE - Two Gwinnett County schools are among the 23 schools in the state to be named this year as a Georgia School of Excellence in Student Achievement.

Freeman's Mill Elementary was honored for being in the top 10 percent of schools in Georgia as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics, and J.P. McConnell Middle was selected for making the greatest continuous gains in student achievement for the past three years in reading and mathematics, according to Gwinnett County Public Schools.

One school per congressional district is chosen for each category, and Georgia Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox announced the honorees Friday during a speech at the Georgia School Boards Association/Georgia School Superintendents Association Annual Conference.

Freeman's Mill Principal Marian Hicks credits her school's staff and faculty and the dedicated members of the community with the success of the Mill Creek cluster school.

"I am so excited and proud of our outstanding staff, wonderful children and supportive parents who greatly value teaching and learning," Hicks said in a statement.

"Our staff is very passionate about teaching; it is a true calling to them," she added. "They sincerely love and care about each child and continuously focus on meeting the academic needs of all students. Our PTA and parents work hand-in-hand with us to ensure our teachers and students have all the resources necessary to achieve student success."

McConnell Principal Paula Everett-Truppi said her school is focused on improving student achievement and continuous improvement does not happen by accident.

"Teachers review data that helps to paint a picture of where our students are," Everett-Truppi said in a statement. "Using that information, our educators plan instruction to plan to ensure that all children receive the same rigorous and challenging education. Benchmark exams and staff development contributes to the academic success at J.P. McConnell Middle."

Everett-Truppi also said she was excited to hear about the honor.

"Seeing the fruits of your hard work inspires us to keep working hard to ensure that every child at J.P. McConnell Middle will reach and exceed their learning potential," she said.

Cox congratulated each of the schools that won.

"These schools are the best of the best," she said. "The teachers, students, parents and staff at these 23 schools are focused and determined and they are getting the job done."

The Georgia Schools of Excellence will be honored at a banquet in February at the Georgia World Congress Center.