A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High and John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet earned platinum awards, the highest given out by the Governor's Office for Student Achievement.
Their accolades came under the category of highest performance as did 12 other local schools, but Davidson and A.R. Johnson were two of only seven high schools in Georgia to earn platinum.
"Very pleased. Very, very pleased," A.R. Johnson Principal Deborah Walker said. The success comes from commitment and dedication, and the school pushes itself to maintain that success, she said.
"I think every day is a tough day because we have those expectations we have to live up to," she said.
Davidson Principal Vicky Addison said expectations are key to success at her school also.
"High expectations permeate the whole school," she said. "We start this the minute they walk in the door in sixth grade."
Eleven Columbia County schools received state awards for student achievement.
Michelle Paschal, the principal at Stevens Creek Elementary, said the school is fortunate to have such strong community support. The school earned a gold award.
"The credit goes to the teachers with all of the hard work they put in with the students," she said.
Jeff Carney, the Lakeside principal, attributed the students' improved test scores to increased academic rigor and high expectations.
"We expect a lot out of our kids. We expect a lot out of our staff. Between the two of them, we always get good results," he said.
Richmond County had two schools, Lake Forest Hills Elementary and McBean Elementary, recognized for making the greatest gains.
"Our special education students really made tremendous gains last year," said Mandy Shuman, a fifth-grade teacher at Lake Forest Hills.
The awards were based on last year's performance on state standardized tests. The Governor's Office of Student Achievement used a combination of the numbers of years the school made adequate yearly progress, the percentage of pupils meeting state standards on tests and the percentage of students exceeding those standards.
Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High
- John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet
- C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet
- Lakeside High
- Stevens Creek Elementary
- North Columbia Elementary
- River Ridge Elementary
- Bel Air Elementary
- Blue Ridge Elementary
- Evans Elementary
- Evans High
- Greenbrier High
- Riverside Elementary
- Westmont Elementary
- Lake Forest Hills Elementary
- McBean Elementary
Source: Georgia Department of Education