Newton County's Heard-Mixon Elementary recognized for significant improvement

COVINGTON -- Heard-Mixon Elementary School was singled out as one of 13 schools in the state recognized for making significant improvement over the past three years.

Georgia School Superintendent John Barge announced Tuesday that Newton County School System's HeardMixon Elementary School is a 2011 Georgia School of Excellence in Student Achievement for making gains in reading and math scores.

Every year, the Georgia School of Excellence program honors one school from each of Georgia's 13 U.S. congressional districts that has shown the greatest improvement and one school from each congressional district that is in the top 10 percent of schools in the state based on reading and mathematics scores.

Heard-Mixon is in the 8th Congressional district.

According to information provided by the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), the program places emphasis on student achievement as measured through statemandated criterion assessments.

The schools must also meet additional criteria, including making Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) for at least three consecutive years; meeting or exceeding state mean scores in science and social studies; not being considered a "Persistently Dangerous School" under the No Child Left Behind law; offering a minimum of two AP courses in grades nine through 12; being in existence for five years; and not being the subject of any state investigation within the last year.

Each of the 26 schools will also receive a $1,000 check from Georgia Natural Gas.

"I am elated to hear that we were awarded a school of excellence for our district," said Lee Peck, principal of HeardMixon Elementary School, in a press release. "I am honored to work with a school community that is so dedicated to ensure academic success for all students. I would like to personally thank the county office administrators, my assistant principal and staff, students and parents for all they do each and every day for the children we serve together."

Newton County school board member Jeff Meadors, whose district includes Heard-Mixon, said, "I could not be more proud of the work being done at HeardMixon. I sat down with Principal Lee Peck this past March and we reviewed achievement data in all academic areas. I observed high quality teachers narrowly focused on student achievement. Now comes the payoff. The real winners will always be our students."

The 2011 Schools of Excellence are as follows:

Congressional District School System

1 Matilda Harris Elementary Camden County

2 Potter Street Elementary Decatur County

3 Rosemont Elementary Troup County

4 Pine Street Elementary Rockdale County

5 Clairmont Elementary City Schools of Decatur

6 Sprayberry High Cobb County

7 Level Creek Elementary Gwinnett County

8 Heard-Mixon Elementary Newton County

9 Settles Bridge Elementary Forsyth County

10 Demorest Elementary Habersham County

11 Hillgrove High Cobb County

12 Ester F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts Savannah-Chatham County

13 Stockbridge Elementary Henry County

The schools noted for being in the Top 10 Percent are:

Congressional District School System

1 Oglethorpe Point Elementary Glynn County

2 Westside Elementary Lowndes County3 Peeples Elementary Fayette County

4 Oak Grove Elementary DeKalb County

5 Morningside Elementary Atlanta Public Schools

6 Vanderlyn Elementary DeKalb County

7 Shiloh Point Elementary Forsyth County

8 Alexander II Magnet Bibb County

9 Vickery Creek Elementary Forsyth County

10 Stevens Creek Elementary Columbia County

11 Jones Elementary Bremen City

12 Savannah Arts Academy Savannah-Chatham County

13 Holly Springs Elementary Douglas County