Gwinnett schools recognized by state
2 Buford, 23 GCPS facilities receive student achievement scores

LAWRENCEVILLE - Nearly 280 Georgia public schools, including 23 in Gwinnett County and two in Buford, will receive awards for student achievement and improvement during the 2007-08 school year, state officials announced Wednesday.

The 279 schools are being recognized under Georgia's Single Statewide Accountability System, which honors schools based on their performance on state curriculum exams and Adequate Yearly Progress status, according to a news release.

"These awards are just one way to say 'Thank you' and 'great job' to the principals, teachers, parents and students at these schools," State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox said in the news release. "This type of achievement and improvement doesn't happen unless everyone is focused on the goal of providing a quality education to every student."

The awards were announced as part of the release the 2007-08 K-12 Public Schools Report Card, a joint effort of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education. The annual report card, available at www.gaosa.org, contains data and information on every school and school district in the state, including scores on state and national tests, graduation rates and data on student enrollment and demographics.

The schools are awarded on four levels - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze - in two categories: greatest gains and highest performance. Schools will receive a certificate and banner to commemorate the honor.

Schools honored for greatest gains showed the greatest improvement in scores on the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests or the Georgia High School Graduation Test. Awards for highest performance will be given to schools that demonstrated the highest achievement on those standardized tests.

"We are very proud to have such a large number of schools to be recognized for outstanding performance by the Governor's Office and the Department of Education," said Steve Flynt, chief academic officer for Gwinnett County Public schools. "This recognition is a testament to our district's teachers and leaders for their focus on teaching and learning, as well as their dedication to challenging all students to high levels of achievement."

Fort Daniel Elementary and Dacula High were among eight schools in the state earning awards for greatest gains and highest performance.

"It is thrilling to have our hard work recognized by the state," Fort Daniel principal Carolyn Madsen said. "Our staff is so very proud of the improvement shown by our students last year. It's gratifying to know that a staff that loves children and works together as a learning community can make a real difference for students."

Madsen said the faculty studies the strengths and weaknesses of each child and works hard to address the needs of each individual student. Teachers use research-based teaching practices to ensure students master the material. The school also provides several tutorial and enrichment activities for students.

Joy Davis, principal of Buford Academy, said students have excelled in reading, and teachers are focusing on improving achievement in math. The school received a Gold award for greatest gains.

"It's exciting to know that all of the hard work and efforts of our staff members and students paid off," Davis said. "Our teachers and students really worked hard last year."

Buford High, which received a Bronze award for highest performance, is focusing on increasing the number of students who exceed standards in all test areas. The school's goal is to receive the Platinum award, principal Banks Bitterman said.

"We're extremely proud of our students as well as our faculty," Bitterman said. "They've worked incredibly hard to ensure that success."

SideBar: School Awards

Nearly 280 public schools will receive awards for student improvement and achievement during the 2007-08 school year. The schools are awarded on four levels - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze - in two categories: greatest gains and highest performance. The following Gwinnett County and Buford schools have earned awards:

School, Award Level, Category

Beaver Ridge Elementary, Silver, Greatest gains

Brookwood Elementary, Silver, Highest performance

Brookwood High, Gold, Highest performance

Buford Academy, Gold, Greatest gains

Buford High, Bronze, Highest performance

Camp Creek Elementary, Gold, Highest performance

Collins Hill High, Bronze, Highest performance

Crews Middle, Silver, Highest performance

Dacula High, Platinum, Greatest gains

Dacula High, Bronze, Highest performance

Duncan Creek Elementary, Gold, Highest performance

Fort Daniel Elementary, Platinum, Greatest gains

Fort Daniel Elementary, Bronze, Highest performance

Freeman's Mill Elementary, Bronze, Highest performance

Grayson High, Bronze, Highest performance

Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Bronze, Highest performance

Head Elementary, Silver, Highest performance

Level Creek Elementary, Bronze, Highest performance

Mill Creek High, Silver, Highest performance

North Gwinnett High, Bronze, Highest performance

Osborne Middle, Bronze, Highest performance

Parkview High, Bronze, Highest performance

Parsons Elementary, Bronze, Highest performance

Pinckneyville Middle, Platinum, Greatest gains

Riverside Elementary, Silver, Highest performance

Simpson Elementary, Platinum, Highest performance

Suwanee Elementary, Silver, Highest performance

Source: Georgia Department of Education