By Curt Yeomans
Approximately 500 Babb Middle School students, parents and teachers - and members of the surrounding community - converged on the Forest Park school for a fall festival Friday afternoon, to celebrate three consecutive years of meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements.
The school was among several Georgia schools to recently learn they made AYP this year, after student re-testing on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) over the summer. AYP is part of the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act. Making AYP means a school is meeting the expectations outlined in that law.
"This is a student recognition for AYP because we've made it for three consecutive years, and we are now a Title I Distinguished School under the guidelines set by the Georgia Department of Education," Babb Middle School Principal Felicia Brown said.
The Georgia Department of Education's web site states that the department bestows "distinguished" status upon Title I schools that make AYP for three or more years. Title I schools are those schools where a majority of the students qualify for the federal government's free and reduced-price lunch plan.
In addition to being a celebration of making AYP again, the festival also provided an opportunity to bring the school's local community together, said Babb Middle School Assistant Principal Tracy Dubose. He said it was the first time he could remember the school having hosted a fall festival.
"Our kids have few activities to do in this community, so this was an opportunity for the school to bring everyone together for a fun event," Dubose said.
Among the activities available for festival participants were several inflatables, including an obstacle course, jousting ring, bungee-cord race and an athletic game that allowed children to test their soccer, football and baseball skills. The festival also featured a concession area, hay rides around the school's track, and games, such as a ball toss and hula-hoop toss.
"It's good that the school is doing this because we really don't have much to do in the middle school," said Babb Middle School sixth-grader, Jersavious James, 12. "My favorite thing to do was the football toss. I made one touchdown out of three attempts."
"It was just a good time," added seventh-grader, Demarcus Morgan, 12.