WALKER COUNTY SCHOOLS
Rank: 41st largest of 192 school systems
Total schools: 14
Source: Georgia Department of Education
Ten Walker County public schools have been given accolades - and money - while serving students from largely disadvantaged homes.
Chattanooga Valley, Naomi and Stone Creek elementary schools recently were noted for nine years of making adequate yearly progress on state standardized tests under the No Child Left Behind program.
Gilbert, North LaFayette, Rossville and Rock Spring elementary schools were noted for eight years of adequate progress. Rossville Middle School was praised for five years, and Chattanooga Valley and LaFayette middle schools were recognized for three years or more of consecutive adequate yearly progress.
Schools received monetary awards from the Georgia Department of Education for their years of achievement. All totaled, the schools received $25,000 in addition to their 2011 Title I Distinguished Schools allocation for the awards.
The schools were recognized as a part of the Title I Schools program, which recognizes schools that meet or exceed AYP standards for three or more consecutive years, said George Cherry, coordinator of the Walker County Title I programs.
The system has 13 so-called Title I schools, a federal designation that involves the number of students that come from homes below the poverty line. Walker has a total of 14 schools.
In the region, county school systems in Catoosa, Dade, Chattooga, Murray and Whitfield and city systems in Chickamauga, Dalton, and Trion also had schools on the Title I Distinguished Schools List.
Whitfield had 16 of its 23 schools on the list, but Walker had the largest percentage being recognized this year.
"These schools have worked hard to identify at-risk students and offer remediation in order for these students to grasp the concepts being taught," Cherry said. "Each school developed a plan based on a needs assessment and used their funds accordingly."
Title I schools get extra government dollars to help improve performance.
"They have spent Title I funds to supplement personnel, materials and technology in order to offer students every opportunity to be successful in the school setting," Cherry said. "Academic coaches work on curriculum and model teaching while parent involvement specialists work with parents and grandparents to ensure a home-school connection."
Across Georgia, about 900 schools were recognized for having similar progress. There are about 2,500 public schools in Georgia.
"These schools have shown that high expectations, hard work and collaboration do improve student achievement," Georgia School Superintendent John Barge said. "These 868 schools could make excuses, but they don't. The teachers and students are focused, and the consistent results prove it."