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Georgia Department of Education Selects 3 Schools as First Ever Winners of Family-Friendly Partnership School Award

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, mcardoza@gadoe.org
Dorie Turner Nolt, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 656-5594, dnolt@gadoe.org  
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Oct. 31, 2012
– Three elementary schools have been selected as the first ever 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, at the front office or on the Internet. 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.
“These schools are models for the entire state on how to engage families and make parents feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “We must find more ways to get parents involved in the education of their children, whether it’s online or in person.”


The winners are:

·        W.C. Britt Elementary School in Gwinnett County
·        Morningside Elementary School in Houston County
·        Miller Elementary School in Houston County
They were chosen from a pool of nine finalists. The six other schools named finalists are:
·        Snellville Middle School in Gwinnett County
·        Harmony Leland Elementary in Cobb County
·        Social Circle Primary School in Social Circle City
·        Marbut Theme Elementary School in DeKalb County
·        Teasley Middle School in Cherokee County
·        Linwood Elementary School in Houston 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 three schools will be visited by Dr. Barge in November and will receive a plaque and a welcome mat for their front doors as part of the award. The award is sponsored by the GaDOE, along with the former Georgia Parental Information and Resource Center - now Communities in Schools of Georgia - and the Georgia Foundation for Public Education.
 
The award will be given out annually to up to 10 Title I schools that go above and beyond to make families feel welcome and work to engage parents in their children’s education. 
Schools can begin applying for next year’s Family-Friendly Partnership School Awards in November. To apply, a school must be Title I – which means it receives additional federal dollars due 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.
For 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.
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