Button Gwinnett Elementary has been named to Georgia’s 2014 Highest Progress School list, marking the second year in a row that the school has achieved the distinction.
According to a news release from the Georgia Department of Education, a highest-progress school is “among the 10 percent of the state’s Title I schools making the most progress in improving the performance of the ‘all students’ group over three years on the statewide assessments.”
“Every year, the state looks at every school’s achievement level,” Button Gwinnett Principal Dr. Mike Johnson said. “They take a three-year average and schools that made the top 10 percent of schools that made the most progress in the state can get on that reward list.”
According to Johnson, the achievement level of each school is based on year-end Criterion-Referenced Competency Test scores.
Johnson said that he and his staff monitor students’ progress throughout the year, on an almost-quarterly basis. He said that he has spurred progress through individualized enrichment programs and extra-curricular learning opportunities, such as after-school and Saturday-school sessions.
“We have teachers that volunteer for Saturday school and do Saturday school for (no extra pay),” Johnson said.
Though he also mentioned tools like thinking maps and the implementation of formative instructional practices as factors in Button Gwinnett’s progress, he had high praise for teachers’ and staff’s tireless efforts.
“Basically, it boils down to how hard our teachers work and how hard our staff works,” he said.
“I am very appreciative of the work that the administration, teachers and staff have done to improve student learning and achievement at Button Gwinnett,” Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee said in a news release. “I am especially proud of my fine students, who continue to make gains specific to meeting and exceeding expectations.”
“Our kids and staff, I can’t say enough,” Johnson continued. “I’m around some of the hardest-working folks I’ve been around in a long time. And our parents, they help us out — they support us and pitch in at home. It’s a group task … we all seem to get in there and do the best we can.”
Johnson has been Button Gwinnett’s principal since 2013. He also served as principal of Jordye Bacon Elementary prior to its closing.