Clayton County schools don't make excellence list

By Greg Gelpi

Georgia named its 2004 Georgia Schools of Excellence in Student Achievement. None are from Clayton County.

Arnold Elementary was the last school in Clayton County designated as a School of Excellence, Jerry Jackson, the acting coordinator of public affairs/community relations for Clayton County schools, said. That was done about three years ago.

The State Department of Education named 26 schools as Schools of Excellence Wednesday. State Superintendent of Education Kathy Cox used a new system to select the schools, a system she said is more objective.

The new system chooses two schools in each of the state's 13 congressional districts. Cox chose one school in each district that scored in the top 10 percent in state testing in student achievement in reading/language arts and math and one for the "greatest continuous gain for reading/language arts and math over the previous three-year period."

Other criteria were used for schools that met the initial qualifications. For instance, the school had to be in existence for at least five years and have a minimum of 80 percent of the staff designated as "highly qualified."

"These schools are working hard and getting the job done," Cox said in a statement. "They've got the right formula for improving achievement for all schools. This is a trend we hope will continue in all of Georgia's schools."

The Department of Education also narrowed the list for State Teacher of the Year to 10 teachers.

Clayton County Teacher of the Year Kathryn Holloman of Hawthorne Elementary School did not make the cut. She will be honored at "An Evening with the Stars" at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 in the Clayton County Schools Performing Arts Center.