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State superintendent visits, praises Gwinnett schools

Osborne Middle Principal John Campbell raises the hardware the school received on Wednesday during a ceremony with State School Superintendent John Barge for being named a School of Excellence. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

Osborne Middle Principal John Campbell raises the hardware the school received on Wednesday during a ceremony with State School Superintendent John Barge for being named a School of Excellence. (Staff Photo: Keith Farner)

HOSCHTON — There have been two forms of measurement to decide the top schools in the state since 2009, but Osborne Middle has made the cut for each standard.

For the second time in that time frame, the Hoschton middle school was named a School of Excellence, and it held a ceremony on Wednesday complete with pom poms and a visit from State School Superintendent John Barge and Board of Education members Louise Radloff and Carole Boyce.

The current measurement, called the College and Career Ready Performance Index, is a new accountability system that replaced the No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress measurement in Georgia.

“So how they were selected now is different than how they were selected in 2009,” Barge said. “To me, that’s a testament that excellence is excellence however you measure it.”

Georgia Department of Education sponsor United Healthcare donated a massage therapist to give teachers massages, and Campbell said he will set aside a day soon for that. The school also received $1,000 from Georgia Natural Gas, which Campbell said would be used for signage at the entrance to the school.

Barge also visited Mulberry Elementary, Harris Elementary and Head Elementary throughout the day. The honorees were among 28 schools that have shown the highest performance or highest progress across the state.

Osborne made the list in the “highest progress” category while Harris, Head, and Mulberry all were honored in the “highest performance” category.

“A lot of it goes back to leadership,” Barge said. “Gwinnett has a solid Board of Education, a solid superintendent and solid principals, and the expectations for this district are high.”

The honor is the fifth for Osborne Principal John Campbell in his career. Campbell was also a principal or assistant principal at schools that were honored in 2001 (McConnell Middle), 1991 (Trickum Middle) and 1985 (Parkview High).

Harris Elementary also won the School of Excellence award in 1988.

“This award validates the dedicated and relentless work of our staff. I am so proud of all that our students and teachers have accomplished,” Harris Principal Lauri Burton said in a press release.

Accolades aren’t new to Osborne. For three out of the last four years, the school has received the top score in the state for most students in the exceeds expectations category of the eighth-grade writing test.

“Obviously he knows what works, has got a great staff here, and the expectations are high for the students,” Barge said.

Campbell credited Gwinnett County Public Schools and said no one could rise too far above the district they’re in.

“Stability with the leadership we’ve had all these years makes this possible,” he said.

Campbell said his fundamental goals are reading for meaning and writing for understanding.

“That’s kind of my slogan,” he said. “If I can prepare teachers to help kids read for meaning, reading comprehension as text becomes increasingly complex, can you help kids read that complex? The science textbook. When they get to college, the psychology textbook, how do you attack when you get to reading that’s a challenge for you.”