32 Clayton schools named Distinguished Title 1 Schools

The Clayton County School System recently got news worth shouting about, from State School Superintendent John Barge: 32 of the district’s schools were among the 824 in the state recognized as being Title 1 Distinguished Schools for the 2011-2012 school year.

That is roughly half of the schools in the district.

Barge released the news last week, and Clayton County School Superintendent Edmond Heatley welcomed the recognition. “Once again, our students and our staffs are proving that great things are happening in Clayton County Schools,” Heatley said. “This is the product of fiscal responsibility, dedication to the cause of learning and student achievement. We never grow tired of seeing our schools flourish. We are so proud of them all.”

According to Matt Cardoza, director of communications for the Georgia Department of Education, in order for a school to be named a Title 1 Distinguished School, it must make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 3 consecutive years –– or more. Those that make the mark for 3 years or more, are awarded a certificate. Those that achieve the goal for 8 years or more, are given a monetary award, through federal funds, Cardoza said.

According to Clayton school officials, a school's AYP status is important, because it measures how well a school is performing and meeting the mandates of the federal government's No Child Left Behind Act. As a part of that law, each year, Georgia’s schools must achieve certain standards, based on Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, the Georgia High School Graduation Test, and other indicators, such as attendance and high school graduation rates.

Clayton’s public schools cited as Title 1 Distinguished Schools include: Anderson Elementary; Arnold Elementary; Callaway Elementary; East Clayton Elementary; Edmonds Elementary; Harper Elementary; Huie Elementary; James Jackson Elementary; Kemp Primary; Kilpatrick Elementary; Lake City Elementary; Lee Street Elementary; Marshall Elementary; McGarrah Elementary; Morrow Elementary; Mt. Zion Elementary; Mt. Zion Primary; Northcutt Elementary; Oliver Elementary; Pointe South Elementary; River’s Edge Elementary; Swint Elementary; Tara Elementary; Unidos Dual Language Charter; Adamson Middle; Babb Middle; Forest Park Middle; Kendrick Middle; Morrow Middle; Rex Mill Middle; Roberts Middle; and Sequoyah Middle.

“These schools are showing that high expectations, coupled with effective educators in the building, produce outstanding student achievement," said Superintendent Barge. “I'm very pleased to recognize the educators, students and parents in these schools and school districts.”

“We are proud of our 32 Title I Distinguished schools for being recognized for continuously working toward increasing student achievement,” added Clayton County’s Doug Hendricks, chief human resources officer for the district. “This award is a reflection of the hard work, dedication, and vision among the students, teachers, and community of each school.”

To be designated as a Title 1 School, officials said, a school must meet certain federal guidelines, prominent among those is having a certain percentage of students, at the school, who qualify for free or reduced lunch.