Local schools reach mark

ALBANY -- The Dougherty County School System will receive $97,918 in federal funds for Fiscal Year 2010 after 13 of its schools were named Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools by State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.

Cox named 896 schools to the state list of Title I schools, which are defined by having a large population of students who are economically disadvantaged and receive federal money to assist with the education of those students. In 2003, only 116 school were recognized as Title I Distinguished Schools.

"These 896 schools don't accept excuses," Cox said in a news release. "There are high standards for students and high expectations for teachers. These schools are focused and determined -- and they are getting results."

Twenty-two of the 26 Dougherty schools are Title I schools. Lake Park Elementary and Lincoln Elementary Magnet, Robert Cross Middle and Westover Comprehensive High School are the four non-Title I public schools in Dougherty County.

To make the Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools list, schools needed to make Adequate Yearly Progress three consecutive years. Schools that met this criteria were awarded a certificate, and those that made it four or more years received a monetary award, paid from federal funds.

Lamar Reese School of the Arts led the way for the Dougherty County School System by making AYP for the 10th straight year and was awarded $9,810. International Studies Elementary Charter, Jackson Heights Elementary, Radium Springs Elementary, Sylvester Road Elementary and West Town Elementary each made AYP for the eighth year in a row. Each of the schools was awarded $9,810, except for International Studies, which received $1,068.

Alice Coachman Elementary, Magnolia Elementary and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary each have made AYP for seven straight years and will receive $7,848. Albany Middle and Southside Middle each made AYP for the fifth year in a row and will each receive $7,848. Northside Elementary and Sherwood Acres Elementary have made AYP for four years in a row. Northside was awarded $7,848 and Sherwood, which has been a Title I Distinguished School for two years, received $712.

As a whole, Dougherty County School System had 23 of its 26 schools make AYP for the 2008-09 school year, the highest number it has ever had.

"The Title I Distinguished School program motivates students and teachers toward continuous improvement," DCSS Public Information Director R.D. Harter said. "Dougherty County schools are proud of academic achievements made by the 13 distinguished schools named for 2008-09."

Lee County High School, Middle School and its ninth-grade campus each made the Georgia Title I Distinguished Schools list as well. The high school, which includes the ninth-grade campus, has made AYP seven years in a row and the middle school has made it six years in a row. Each was awarded $712.

"We're very pleased with that," Lee County Superintendent Lawrence Walters said of the state designation.

The Leesburg school system's other four schools are not defined as Title I schools. Lee County is one of only two school systems in the state with more than seven schools that have made Adequate Yearly Progress for six straight years. The other school system is Oconee County, which has nine schools.

Worth County had three schools make the state Title I Distinguished Schools list. Worth County Primary made AYP for the 11th year in a row and received $1,424. Sylvester Elementary made AYP for the sixth year and Worth County Middle made AYP for the fourth year. Both earned $712.

Mitchell County Primary School made the list by making AYP for the 11th straight year and were awarded $11,772 in federal funds. Terrell County's Cooper Primary School has also made AYP for 11 years in a row and earned $11,772.