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Freedom Park School gets national award

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Freedom Park School was named a national model Monday for the reform program it uses, America’s Choice School Design.

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Freedom Park Principal Pauline Andrews (left) and Alison Wagner, Pearson's president of School Achievement Services, display the new award flag.  CHRIS THELEN/STAFF
Freedom Park Principal Pauline Andrews (left) and Alison Wagner, Pearson's president of School Achievement Services, display the new award flag.

The school, on Fort Gordon, celebrated the achievement with a performance by the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band and appearances by several dignitaries, including Mayor Deke Copenhaver, officials from Pearson/America’s Choice and Richmond County school system administrators.

The 13-year-old program has been used to help more than 1,000 struggling schools across the country turn around their performance, according to America’s Choice’s Web site.

America’s Choice was created by the nonprofit National Center on Education and the Economy in 1989. In 2010, Pearson, an international education company, acquired America’s Choice.

America’s Choice School Design helps districts and schools focus on five elements of school improvement:

1. Creating a standards-based system with assessments that monitor progress and inform instruction.

2. Aligning instruction to standards and focusing teaching on moving students from where they are to where they need to be.

3. Strengthening instructional leadership.

4. Building professional learning communities.

5. Engaging parents and the community.

Freedom Park, which serves about 750 pupils in prekindergarten through eighth grade, has met federal “adequate yearly progress” benchmarks every year since 2004.

In the 2010-11 school year, 82.1 percent of the school’s pupils passed grade-level the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test in math, and 93.5 percent passed the CRCT in reading.


Columbia County school officials announced Monday that Stevens Creek Elementary has been named a Georgia School of Excellence.

The Martinez school is one of just 26 in the state to receive the title this year.

To qualify, schools must place in the top 10 percent on assessments in reading or math, or have attained the greatest continuous gains in student achievement for the past three years.

Stevens Creek Elementary was chosen for being among the top 10 percent of highest performing schools. For obtaining the designation, it will receive a $1,000 check from Georgia Natural Gas.

– Donnie Fetter, Columbia County Bureau

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FOR MORE about the America’s Choice School Design Program, log on to Learn more about Freedom Park School at

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