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Michelle Sandrock, Parent Engagement Program Manager, Phone: (404)
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April 7, 2014 – Four Georgia schools have been selected as the 2014
winners of the Georgia Department of Education’s Family-Friendly Partnership
School Award. The winners were selected because they represent the best in
customer service for Georgia families, whether it’s on the phone, in the front
office or online. The schools have welcoming staff members, comfortable waiting
areas, clear signage, and engaging student work throughout the building.
They have easy-to-navigate websites
and are forging partnerships with parents to help improve student achievement.
The schools also provide unique, engaging, and innovative parent engagement
programming that is successful in reaching all families in the school.
“The schools that won this award understand the importance of what
welcoming environments bring to student success,” said State School
Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “They are models for the entire state when it
comes to engaging families and making parents feel welcome from the moment that
they walk in the door. I offer my congratulations and thanks to all of the
winners and finalists.”
The winners are:
- Cumming Elementary School in Forsyth County
- Golden Isles Elementary School in Glynn County
- Midway Elementary School in Forsyth County
- Moreland Elementary School in Coweta County
They were chosen from a pool of ten finalists. The six other
schools named finalists are:
- Buford Elementary School in Buford City
- East Broad K-8 School in Chatham County
- G.H. Hopkins Elementary School in Gwinnett County
- Lanier County Elementary School in Lanier County
- Louisville Middle School in Jefferson County
- Matilda Harris Elementary School in Camden County
Each school received phone calls and visits from “parents” looking
for information or assistance. They also received a walk-through by department
staff, which conducted interviews with school workers, parents, students and
community members as part of the selection process.
All four schools will be visited by Dr. Barge and will receive a
plaque and a welcome mat for their front entrance. The award is sponsored by
the GaDOE, along with the Georgia Foundation for Public Education, Georgia
Association of Educators and three Ritz-Carlton hotels in Georgia: The
Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta (Downtown); The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead; and The
Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee. Teams from each of the
winning schools also will get the chance to learn more about providing
welcoming environments during a professional learning seminar hosted
by The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center. The seminars are
designed to help the schools increase parent engagement to help improve
the academic achievement of students.
“Through The Ritz-Carlton Succeed Through Service program,
our hotels partner with schools that serve a disadvantaged community. Our goal
is to instill in the students the vision of a successful future if they remain
in school,” said Erwin Schinnerl, general manager, The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead.
“The general managers of our Ritz-Carlton hotels in downtown Atlanta and at
Reynolds Plantation share the hope that the family-friendly schools program
will successfully encourage academic achievement of their students.”
Schools that were named
finalists, but who do not win the award, will receive the option for
specialized support from the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) to further
develop the welcoming environments in their schools and increase their chances
of winning the award in the future.
“The concept of ‘it takes a
village to raise a child’ has proven itself time and time again, especially in
today’s hi-stakes educational environment,” said Calvine Rollins, GAE
President. “Creating an open, inviting environment with a school and its
community feeds into that concept and goes a long way toward removing just one
more obstacle to helping students meet the expectations we have for
them. GAE is excited to be able to offer this training to those schools that
share this vision and have put forth the effort to include the community in the
plans for success.”
Partnership School Award is given out annually to up to 10 schools that go
above and beyond to make families feel welcome and work to engage parents in
their children’s education.
begin applying for next year’s Family-Friendly Partnership School
Awards in August. To apply, a school must be Title I - which means it
receives additional federal dollars due to its high percentage of low-income
students to help those students meet the school’s educational goals. Schools
also must not be designated as Priority or Focus schools under the state’s
Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver.
more information on the Georgia Family Friendly Partnership School initiative
or to apply, go to http://www.gadoe.org/School-Improvement/Federal-Programs/Pages/Georgia-Family-Friendly.aspx.