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Barge visits Elite Scholars, congratulates 2012 Georgia School of Excellence

Congratulates 2012 Georgia School of Excellence

Elite Scholars Academy Principal Shonda Shaw and State School Superintendent John Barge, both center, celebrate with students Tuesday. The school was named a 2012 Georgia School of Excellence. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

Elite Scholars Academy Principal Shonda Shaw and State School Superintendent John Barge, both center, celebrate with students Tuesday. The school was named a 2012 Georgia School of Excellence. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Elite Scholars Academy Principal Shonda Shaw and State School Superintendent John Barge hold the Clayton County charter school’s 2012 Georgia School of Excellence trophy Tuesday. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Elite Scholars Academy in Morrow received a $1,000 check Tuesday for being recognized as a 2012 Georgia School of Excellence. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

MORROW — Students, faculty and staff at Elite Scholars Academy know exactly what it takes to become a school of excellence.

Principal Shonda Shaw said “hard work and parental involvement” played pivotal parts in the charter school’s recognition as a 2012 Georgia School of Excellence.

“I am grateful for all the hard work of our students, our teachers and our parents,” she said.

The award, given through the Georgia Department of Education, identifies the highest-achieving schools in each of the state’s 14 congressional districts. It is based upon performance on the state’s 2012 College and Career-Ready Performance Index scores.

Elite Scholars was informed in August it was the highest-performing school in the 13th Congressional District, which encompasses portions of Cobb, Clayton, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton and Henry counties.

It became real Tuesday as students and faculty heard the news from State School Superintendent John Barge.

“What impressed me the most is that the expectation here is for every child to do their best and the children know that, and they do it and they achieve,” said Barge.

Barge presented Shaw with a trophy and a $1,000 check, during Tuesday’s school-wide assembly. Shaw said the check will be used for a Sept. 12 celebration to include “food, fun and fellowship” for the students.

Representatives of Georgia Natural Gas and United Health Care, who sponsor the “schools of excellence” program also attended. They were serenaded by the school’s orchestra, which welcomed guests entering the assembly inside the gymnasium.

State and county officials were also on hand to congratulate students and staff at Elite Scholars, which has been consistently one of the highest-performing public schools in metro Atlanta since it opened five years ago.

Shaw said the school’s success is directly related to the individual and collective motivation to achieve. Not much else is different at the school versus others.

Assistant Principal Sam West said the recognition was humbling but welcome.

“For years they’ve been saying ‘great things are happening in Clayton County Public Schools,’ and this is evidence of that,” said West.