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Local Title I schools named to state distinguished list

COVINGTON -- The state has named 17 Rockdale County schools and five Newton County schools to the Title I Distinguished Schools list this year.

The Georgia Department of Education announced Thursday that all 17 of Rockdale County Public Schools' Title I schools and five of the 18 schools at the Newton County School System made the state's list for the 2011-12 school year.

"These schools are showing that high expectations, coupled with effective educators in the building, produce outstanding student achievement," said State Superintendent John Barge. "I'm very pleased to recognize the educators, students and parents in these schools and school districts."

The state named 824 Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools and four Title I Distinguished Districts across Georgia. Title I schools have a high population of students who are economically disadvantaged and receive federal money.

"With the academic bar increasing each year, it is not easy to continue making (Adequate Yearly Progress)," Barge said. "These 824 schools have proven that it can be done even when there are challenges."

Title I Distinguished Schools that have made AYP for at least three consecutive years are awarded a certificate, while those that have been a distinguished school for eight or more years receive a monetary award, paid out of federal funds. The state awarded $868,054 to schools across the state this year.

In Rockdale County, C.J. Hicks Elementary School was awarded $14,416 for making AYP 10 years, thus being a distinguished school for eight years.

Certificates were given to the rest of the schools -- C.J. Hicks, J.H. House, Pine Street, Flat Shoals, Peek's Chapel, Shoal Creek, Sims, Barksdale, Honey Creek and Hightower Trail elementary schools; Conyers, Memorial, Edwards and Ray Davis middle schools; and Rockdale County, Salem and Heritage high schools. Lorraine Elementary School is not a Title I school but continuously has made AYP.

"Our schools continue to receive this kind of significant recognition by meeting and exceeding the increased student achievement measures each year," RCPS Superintendent Samuel King said. "We congratulate our teachers, students, parents and administrators for their persistence in excellence in education so that each child is prepared to pursue the future of his or her choice."In Newton County, Heard-Mixon, Flint Hill, Rocky Plains, Livingston and South Salem elementary schools were awarded certificates.

Fairview, Live Oak, Middle Ridge, Oak Hill, Porterdale and West Newton elementary schools; the five middle schools and Alcovy and Newton high schools are Title I schools but were not recognized. East Newton and Mansfield elementary schools, the Newton County Theme School and Eastside High School are not Title I schools.

"When it comes to improving learning for significant populations of economically disadvantaged students, these NCSS schools have been consistently effective on Georgia's CRCTs," NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews said. "It is a tribute to the staff and administration of these schools, one that students and parents have been a part of and can be proud of."