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Two schools earn 'Reward' status
Button Gwinnett for progress, Taylors Creek for performance
Mike Johnson
Dr. Mike Johnson is principal at Button Gwinnett Elementary. - photo by File photo

Button Gwinnett and Taylors Creek Elementary schools were recently named to Georgia’s Reward Schools list for 2013. Taylors Creek was one of 78 Georgia schools named a highest-performance school, and Button Gwinnett was among the 156 highest-progress schools across the state.
“We’re excited about being named to that list,” Dr. Mike Johnson, Button Gwinnett’s principal, said. “It just validates the hard work of teachers, students and parents.”
“We are very proud to be a Rewards School. This honor confirms the hard work of a dedicated staff who loves to teach children,” Taylors Creek Principal Katrina Byers said. “We presently have 646 students enrolled here at TCE. We are steadily working to build up skills of all students in reading, math, science and social studies. We work to make sure our students are ready, responsible and respectful. Here at TCE, learning comes first.”
Matt Cardoza, with the Georgia Department of Education communications office, said the schools are selected based on how well students perform on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test. Students in third through eighth grades take the CRCT.
Schools named a highest-performing school are Title 1 schools ranked in the top 5 percent, based on CRCT data collected over a three-year period, Cardoza said. A high-progress school is among the 10 percent of Title I schools in the state that has made the most progress in improving the performance of all students, he said.
A school may not be classified as a highest-performing or highest-progress school if it has been identified as a priority, focus or alert school, according to Cardoza.
Reward Schools will receive funds to provide faculty and staff bonuses or to buy classroom supplies and services, according to the Department of Education website.
“When we have money like that, we use it for student supplies and put some things in the classroom,” Johnson said. “We haven’t been told yet how much it will be.”
Jordye Bacon was named a Rewards School last school year, according to Johnson. Jordye Bacon closed at the end of last year. The Coastal Academy and an Ombudsman program were moved to the campus.
Johnson said school administrators will look at Button Gwinnett’s school-improvement plan and discuss the award with teachers and the school council before deciding on how to spend the award funds.
The Reward Schools designation was established when the state received a waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In February 2012 the state received waivers from 10 requirements of ESEA, which originally was passed in 1965 and amended by No Child Left Behind in 2001, according to
Highest-performing and high-progress Title I schools will be formally recognized at an a conference, according to the Department of Education.

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