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Three Newton County schools receive Reward School recognition

COVINGTON — Liberty Middle, Alcovy High and Newton High schools have been recognized by the Georgia Department of Education as Reward Schools. The three Newton County schools were all given the title of High-Progress School, meaning that they are among the 10 percent of Title I schools in Georgia that are making the most progress in improving the performance of students over a three-year period on statewide assessments.

Although these Newton County schools did receive recognition as High-Progress Reward Schools, they did not meet the qualifications to be ranked in the Highest-Performing School category, which means that they have to be within the top 5 percent of Title I schools in the state that are improving students’ academic performance in the past three years on statewide assessments.

Newton County School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey stated in a press release that she is pleased with the progress that the three schools have made, but allows that there is a need to perform better.

“We’re very proud of these schools as they have demonstrated continued improvement in student achievement over the last three years as measured by Georgia assessments,” she stated in the press release. “The staff and school leaders at each of these schools have worked diligently to ensure there is a laser-like focus on increasing student achievement through more effective teaching. The upward trajectory is promising even as we have a need to perform better — particularly in mathematics.”

Improvement in this area could earn Liberty, Alcovy and Newton the title of Highest-Performing School, a step up from the ranking of High-Progress School, the press release states.

Through research-based instructional strategies and focusing on professional learning communities, the school system hopes to increase student achievement and earn the titles as Highest-Performing Schools, according to Newton County School System Public Relations Director Sherri Davis-Viniard.

“We must continue the focus on student achievement as the state is continually raising the bar; as a result, we must raise the bar as well. Our ultimate goal is to have all students meeting or exceeding standards,” Davis-Viniard said. “This is a great start; we’re definitely moving in the right direction.”