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The Georgia Department of Education has released a list of Reward Schools as part of the state’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waiver and five of those schools are in Newton County—Heard-Mixon Elementary; Newton County Theme School at Ficquett; Porterdale Elementary; Alcovy High; and Newton High.  The category is reserved for schools with the highest performance or the biggest academic gains by students in the last three years.

"We're very proud of these schools as they have demonstrated upward movement in student achievement over the past three years on Georgia assessments,” said Newton County School Superintendent Gary Mathews. “And they certainly led the way as our system-in-general has shown progress over the past several years.  The trajectory is good even as we have a need to perform better in certain areas, especially in mathematics."

Reward Schools are classified in one of two categories—Highest-Performing School and High-Progress School. A “Highest-Performing School” is a Title I school among the 5% of Title I schools in the State that has the highest absolute performance over three years for the “all students” group on the statewide assessments. A Highest-Performing School must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the “all students” group and all of its subgroups in 2011. A School may not be classified as a Highest-Performing School if there are significant achievement gaps across subgroups that are not closing in the school.

A “High-Progress School” is a Title I school among the 10% of Title I schools in the State that is making the most progress in improving the performance of the “all students” group over three years on the statewide assessments. A school may not be classified as a High-Progress School if there are significant achievement gaps across subgroups that are not closing in the school.

Each of Newton County’s Reward Schools was in the “High-Progress School” category. According to Matt Cardoza, Director of Communications for the Georgia Department of Education, data used for Reward School identification was pulled from the years 2009, 2010, and 2011.

“These schools are shining examples of what we can achieve in public education in Georgia,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “I want to take what’s working at our Reward Schools and replicate that in every school in the state. These are the schools making education work for all Georgians.

For more information contact Ms. Sherri Davis-Viniard, director of public relations for Newton County Schools, at davis-viniard.sherri@newton.k12.ga.us.

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