Two of the eight schools from the state of Georgia named National Blue Ribbon Schools are in Bibb County.
Alexander II Magnet School and First Presbyterian Day School’s elementary school were both on the list of 335 schools nationwide.
“We have many schools that are doing a great job preparing students for a bright future, but these schools rose to the top and are very deserving of this recognition,” state school Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement.
Public schools can get selected based on high performance on tests and in graduation rates or closing achievement gaps in those areas, with Alexander II being named for the former category.
Bertha Caldwell, in her second year as the school’s principal, said she was “excited beyond measure” to see Alexander II pick up the honor for the second time in 10 years, with the last one coming in 2006.
“That doesn’t usually happen as far as the school winning it again, as far as I know,” she said.
Caldwell called the recognition a “big picture award,” taking into account school culture, parent engagement and opportunities for students.
“What it says is that we have dedicated teachers that really work hard for their students,” she said. “In addition to that, one of the key factors to success is parent involvement.”
Private schools have a separate process but similar standards, and FPD was one of just 50 private schools in the country selected.
The status of the award wasn’t lost on FPD headmaster Gregg Thompson.
“It’s a great confirmation of the work that’s going on in our classrooms,” he said.
Thompson also pointed to the awards for both schools as a positive for the Macon-Bibb County community as a whole.
“I think it says a lot for our community and the opportunities and the options that are there” for students, he said.
That focus on the whole county extends throughout the public school district, Caldwell said. She noted that Bibb County school Superintendent Curtis Jones has talked about being a “school district, not a district of schools” and that she hoped to share successful strategies with other schools in the area.
“It’s very important. ... What I would want ... is for every school to be able to meet the criteria to be a Blue Ribbon School,” she said.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter@MTJTimm.