Hall County School Superintendent Will Schofield was in his element Thursday as a gaggle of third- and fourth-grade World Language Academy students gathered around him.
“Now this looks like a school ready to celebrate,” he said. “I knew that a School of Excellence could pull that off.”
They were all celebrating as World Language Academy was one of 28 across the state announced as a 2012 School of Excellence back in August. The program honors schools that have shown the highest performance or highest progress in each congressional district.
Listed as a Highest Progress School, the 2012 College and Career Ready Performance Index for World Language Academy showed a score of 82.1 for the elementary school, and 93.4 for the middle school, out of a total possible score of 100. There were 14 Highest Progress schools named in the state.
Being one of only 14 schools in the state making that much progress gave the school plenty of reasons to cheer.
“There are about 2,000 schools in the state of Georgia,” Schofield continued. “And do you know how many were called and named Schools of Excellence? Fourteen. Coming from a farm, you guys are in what we call high cotton. You guys have really done well.”
For the achievement, corporate sponsor Georgia Natural Gas presented Principal David Moody with a $1,000 check. A second corporate sponsor, UnitedHealthcare, announced it will bring in trained massage therapists for every World Language Academy employee to receive a massage.
Additionally, State School Superintendent John Barge was on hand to present Moody with a trophy.
“It’s the official Georgia Schools of Excellence trophy,” Barge said to the applauding students. “I’m going to hold this up so you guys can see the top part. This is in the shape of stars, and the reason that it’s in the shape of stars is because you all are our academic superstars in the state of Georgia.”
In its sixth year, World Language Academy teaches lessons in both Spanish and English. Younger students generally have up to 90 percent of their instruction content taught in Spanish. Older students learn in a 50-50 split between the languages.
Chinese and Portuguese are also being introduced to the curriculum.
“It’s really what makes us most excited about the award,” Moody had said previously when the list of winning schools was first announced. “The content (our students are) being tested on is in English, but they’re being taught a large portion of their day in Spanish.”
Moody said Thursday he was not quite sure what the school would be doing with the $1,000 check, but he said he looks forward to putting it back into the school for the students.