Five Title I schools get state honor

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The state has designated five Title 1 schools in the Newton County School System as distinguished schools.

The Georgia Department of Education announced last week that Heard-Mixon, Palmer-Stone, Oak Hill, Rocky Plains and West Newton elementary schools made the state's list of Title I Distinguished Schools for the 2010-11 school year.

"Congratulations are very much in order for the students, staff and parents of these five Newton County schools," said NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews in a press release. "I believe State Superintendent (John) Barge really hit it on the head when he suggested that 'these schools could make excuses, but they don't.'"

To be on the list, the school must be a Title I school and have made Adequate Yearly Progress for three or more years in a row. Title I schools have a high population of students who are economically disadvantaged and receive federal money to assist with their education, according to NCSS.

"These schools have shown that high expectations, hard work and collaboration do improve student achievement," Barge said. "I'm so pleased to recognize the educators, students and parents in these schools and school districts. ... The teachers and students are focused and the consistent results prove it."

The five Newton County schools are part of 868 schools in the state given this honor.

Heard-Mixon, Palmer-Stone and West Newton elementary schools each have made AYP for eight consecutive years, thus giving them a distinguished honor for the past six years. Rocky Plains Elementary School made AYP for the past five years, and Oak Hill Elementary School for the past three years.

"Each school has met the rising bar that is No Child Left Behind, and has jumped over it time and time again, year after year," Mathews said. "And, while students and parents play a big role in a child's education, clearly quality teaching matters. They have our thanks and admiration."

Oak Hill received a certificate for its honor, while the other four Newton County schools will receive $742 each as an award, as other schools across the state that have been distinguished for two or more years.