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Midway Elementary, Robert Shaw Traditional Theme School recognized as National ESEA Distinguished Schools

​MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office,

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View a video overview of each school: Midway Elementary School | Robert Shaw Traditional Theme School


February 14, 2024 – Two Georgia public schools – Midway Elementary School in Pierce County and Robert Shaw Traditional Theme School in DeKalb County – have been recognized as 2023 National ESEA Distinguished Schools.  


This is a national honor awarded by the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (NAESPA) to two of the highest-performing Title I schools in every state. In Georgia, the top-performing 5% of Title I schools, based on a combined ELA and Math Achievement Rate score, are eligible to apply. 


“Midway Elementary and Robert Shaw Traditional Theme School have made outstanding strides to provide an excellent education for each student they serve,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I sincerely congratulate the faculty, staff, students, and parents of both schools on this well-deserved national honor. I am grateful to them for representing Georgia so well on the national stage.”


A total of 78 Title I Distinguished Georgia schools from 40 school districts were eligible to apply for this annual recognition. These honorees were selected based on academic achievement and written responses describing initiatives implemented that resulted in outstanding achievement among traditionally underserved subgroups of students.


Each winning school received a $20,000 grant from the GaDOE Title I, Part A program to support registration for the school team to attend the 2024 National ESEA Conference and to support the school's Title I initiatives.


NAESPA honored each National ESEA Distinguished School with a commemorative award package, a dedicated section on the ESEA Network website, and a special presentation at the National ESEA Conference last week in Portland, Oregon. Throughout the National ESEA Conference, select sessions feature Stories of Success from Distinguished Schools, highlighting the notable work they have done to make significant improvements for their students. Distinguished School attendees are celebrated during several exclusive conference events.


Midway Elementary School, Pierce County Schools 

Midway’s students in grades three, four, and five have shown significant growth in English Language Arts (ELA) and math achievement over the last two years, as measured by the weighted achievement percentages on the Georgia Milestones assessments. On the Georgia Milestones ELA assessment, the weighted achievement percentage has increased from 70.23% in 2021 to 87.94% in 2023. On the Georgia Milestones math assessment, the weighted achievement percentage increased from 84.88% to 95.83%. 


Midway attributes its students’ academic achievement gains to developing and implementing a systematic approach to assessing student achievement, collecting and analyzing data, and making informed and intentional instructional decisions. Their goal was to meet the needs of all students and maximize progress toward grade-level achievement expectations. One of the key components of this initiative was data collection and analysis. Grade-level data sheets were created to help teachers access each data point for students in one place. Midway Elementary School administrators indicate this initiative has specifically impacted the instructional program through better intentional use of support personnel, the creation of differentiated instruction groups, and better-informed standards-based instruction. 


Robert Shaw Traditional Theme School, DeKalb County School District

Robert Shaw’s mission is to “promote a caring, safe and supportive environment where academic success, technology use, and the arts create positive thinkers, a sense of understanding, productive and responsible citizens in a changing society.” The school’s students have steadily demonstrated high academic achievement as measured by the percentage of students scoring Developing, Proficient, and Distinguished on the Georgia Milestones English Language Arts (ELA) and math assessments (ELA - 86.4% in 2022 and 89.9% in 2023; Math – 81.3% in 2022 and 89.3% in 2023).


Robert Shaw’s application indicated its success had been achieved through deliberate collaboration and planning initiatives. Teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, the school counselor, and the school media specialist engage in weekly collaborative planning to analyze content standards and formative assessment data. They leveraged these cooperative efforts to strategically plan standards-based and differentiated instruction to meet the needs of their student population. 


Robert Shaw Traditional Theme School focused on three instructional improvement strategies, including guided reading, writing, and mathematics, and a standards-based classroom framework that significantly improved their students’ academic success.