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Press Release – September 16, 2014

Elm Street Elementary School Honored as a ‘Reward’ school by state

Coweta’s Elm Street Elementary School was recognized Tuesday as a 2014 “Reward Schools” by the Georgia Department of Education.

Reward Schools are Title I schools which have been identified by the state for high student achievement sustained over a three year period. The designation – which is part of the state of Georgia’s waiver from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – is reserved for schools with the highest performance or the biggest academic gains by students in the last three years.

The state of Georgia recognizes a small number of Title I schools each year as either “High-Progress Schools” or “Highest-Performing Schools,” based entirely on student academic performance. As a High-Progress Reward school, Elm Street has been recognized as a Title I school among the among the 10% of Title I schools in the State, that is making the most progress in improving the performance of all students over three years on the statewide assessments.

“We’re very proud of the Elm Street family and their accomplishment,” said Dr. Steve Barker. “It’s a reflection of the strong, cooperative spirit that Elm Street has been known for many years. The teachers, administrators, support staff, parents and students at Elm Street have established a culture of excellence they can be very proud of.”

“I’m thrilled, and everyone at Elm Street is excited by the news,” said Elm Street Principal Dr. Christi Hildebrand.

Hildebrand said that the hard work and dedication of the school staff and have earned Elm Street several successes in recent years, as has teachers’ “willingness to take innovative risks in the classroom.” Several school improvement initiatives have also contributed to Elm Street’s success, including CAFÉ and Daily 5 Framework for Literacy programs, Number Talks math programs, and expanded technology in the hands of students.

Among the many accomplishments of the school:

  • 99 percent of 3rd grade students meeting and exceeding reading standards of the 2014 Criterion Reference Competency Test, with 62 percent exceeding those standards.
  • 100 percent of 5th grade students meeting and exceeding math standards of the 2014 Criterion Reference Competency Test in 2014, with 73 percent exceeding those standards.
  • Tying for top spot among Coweta Elementary Schools for the highest score on the state’s 2014 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI)
  • One of only two Coweta schools achieving 100 percent Gold STEM School status, with all certified staff STEM-recognized last year.

“This recognition belongs to our teachers and staff,” said Hildebrand. ‘They know our students and they are committed to making sure they all learn, no matter what. It is a wonderful to see the dedication and hard work of so many people pay off.”

Elm Street 2nd grade teacher Carly Winstead agrees. “We have a very forward-thinking school and a great family. Our teachers are very in-tune with their students strengths and needs. So I’m happy to know that our school has been recognized, but I’m not surprised.”

The state’s ‘Reward’ designation goes only to Title I schools. 18 of Coweta’s 28 regular program elementary, middle and high schools receive federal Title I funding. Non-Title I schools are not eligible for ‘Reward’ designation.

Other categories considered by the state include Priority, Focus and Alert schools, indicating Title I schools which need greater focus on student academic achievement. A school may not be classified as a High-Progress School if it has been identified as a Priority, Focus, or Alert School. No Coweta schools were designated as Priority, Focus or Alert Schools.

Elm Street’s honor places the school in the company of 164 high-performing Title I schools state-wide.

Elm Street Winstead and Hildebrand

Elm Street Elementary School was recognized for achieving “High Progress” Reward School status on Tuesday, by the Georgia Department of Education. Above, school principal Christi Hildebrand, right, talks with 2nd grade teacher Carly Winstead about the school’s recognition.