According to its principal, Melanie Manley, the Lithia Springs school was among the top 10 percent of schools in the state for making the most progress in improving the performance of the “all students” group designation on statewide assessments during the last three years. The school was among 156 statewide given the designation, according to an education department release.
The honor is even more noteworthy as, in addition to a high percentage of its students being from what Manley described as economically challenged families, many are also transient students. “Due to the transient nature of their families, we have some students who are here for only a few days while others stay from kindergarten through the sixth grade,” Manley said.
Last year, for example, only 16 students who entered in kindergarten remained there through the sixth grade. Manley, who is in her second year as principal, and assistant principal Patty Hadley credited the school’s academic success to a unified school approach to education.
“Whatever existing needs our students may have, we try to meet those needs as a unified team, from our school staff and teachers to the parents of our students,” Manley said.
“Although our children may be in different classes with different teachers, we view them as our children and our responsibility and not just that of their individual teachers.”
Douglas County Schools Superintendent Gordon Pritz said he was pleased with the school being recognized at the state level for its academic achievement.
“The teachers have demonstrated a strong focus on student achievement in a caring, supportive environment,” he said.
The school, which was built in 1939 and originally named Lithia Springs School, was renamed for its first principal.
Douglas County Schools Title I Coordinator Lisa Dunnigan said she was elated the school had achieved state recognition.
“Many demands and challenges are placed on educators as they strive to do their best with students,” she said.