State superintendent hands out award at Centerville Elementary School

State superintendent hands out award at Centerville

jmink@macon.comAugust 16, 2013 

CENTERVILLE -- At Centerville Elementary School, teachers’ mouths dropped Friday when they learned some of the rewards of outstanding student performance: $1,000 for their school and free massages for faculty and staff.

They are just a few perks of being one of the 2012 Georgia Schools of Excellence. Centerville and Quail Run elementary schools in Houston County were two of 28 schools across the state chosen for the honor, and state school Superintendent John Barge dropped by Centerville Elementary on Friday to personally hand out the award.

“What you have accomplished is not easy,” Barge told a packed gymnasium of students and teachers.

Schools are deemed excellent by their performance on the state’s accountability measure, the College and Career Ready Performance Index. Quail Run was one of 14 schools that posted the highest scores, and Centerville Elementary was one of 14 schools that showed the most progress. Barge toured some of the schools, stopping by Centerville Elementary, where students clapped and cheered. Houston County Superintendent Robin Hines summed up the importance of the award in a way the young students could understand.

“This is a really, really, really big deal,” he said.

Barge applauded teachers for not only taking on more responsibilities and teaching when a weak economy puts more strain on their jobs, but helping their students make such an achievement. Barge told teachers he knows that children sometimes can push their buttons.

“When they push that button, take a deep breath and think for a minute that, as a teacher, you have the ability to help these young people write their stories and change their stories,” he said.

He also commended students for making the right choices and urged them to continue to make the right decisions.

“Sometimes school isn’t always fun for you,” he said, “but we’re going to make it fun.”

Making it fun is one of the many tactics teachers use to help their students improve. Teachers begin learning about their students -- their strengths, weaknesses and different ways of learning -- before they even meet them. Teachers gather data, analyzing students’ past grades and test scores, Principal Tonya Maddox said.

And during the year, teachers constantly observe students and tweak the way they teach based on those observations, she said.

“We feel like we have a school of excellence not just today, but every day,” she said, adding even she was surprised when Barge announced that faculty and staff will receive free massages.

“Any little thing where they feel taken care of is great,” she said.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751.

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