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Hard work gets Jackson County school recognized

East Jackson Elementary was one of only 26 to receive statewide honor

POSTED: November 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The hard work of the faculty and students at East Jackson Elementary School is being recognized by Georgia Secretary of State Kathy Cox.

Cox announced Friday that East Jackson Elementary School has been selected as one of the 2008 Georgia Schools of Excellence.

"We are really just ecstatic," said Jennifer Halley, East Jackson Elementary School principal. "We have a wonderful team of teachers and staff members that comes together to do what is best for our students."

The Georgia School of Excellence honor was bestowed upon the 26 schools that had shown the greatest improvement or highest achievement among all schools statewide.

East Jackson Elementary School is the only school in Hall or Jackson counties to receive the title of distinction.

Three schools in nearby Forsyth County — Otwell Middle, Sharon Elementary and South Forsyth High — were among the selected Schools of Excellence.

A school from each Congressional district is given the Georgia School of Excellence title for either being in the top 10 percent of schools as measured by reading and mathematics assessments or by demonstrating the highest continuous gains in student achievement for the past three years on reading and mathematics exams.

East Jackson Elementary School received recognition for its students making the greatest gains during a three-year period.

Halley said helping students consistently make academic gains is a continual process that takes a team effort.

"Our vision statement is ‘The relentless pursuit of educational excellence,’ and our staff really carries that out. They really do whatever it takes to get the job done," Halley said.

"We do a number of things to help our students succeed. One thing that we do is differentiated instruction and small groups. We no longer try to do whole-group teaching, instead we utilize small groups and bring in other support staff to assist the classroom teacher."

Student achievement doesn’t just stop with the paid school officials, Halley said parental involvement also plays an important role in a student’s academic success.

"It’s not just our teachers and staff, our parents are also instrumental in our students’ success," Halley said. "Our parents are very involved. Whenever we ask them to come to the school for PTO meetings, holiday meals or conferences, they are always there."

The 2008 Georgia Schools of Excellence will be honored at a banquet in January at the Georgia International Conference Center.


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