Robert Cross is a School of Excellence - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Robert Cross is a School of Excellence

March 10, 2006

Albany -- The award honors public schools throughout the state that have excelled in student achievement. The faculty at one Albany middle school is ecstatic over the good news.

Of all the public schools in Georgia, only twenty were named a "Georgia School of excellence," including Robert Cross Middle.

While students at the school were off today, teachers say they have plenty to smile about when they return.

The classrooms might be empty, but the halls echo with good news. "To receive this kind of recognition just confirms what were about, what we're trying to do."

 And school principal Holly Thursby says that's raising the bar in academics. "That's what we stress everyday all day long," said Thursby.

Teachers like Sue Gerst go the extra mile when it comes to making sure students reach their full potential. "They're very diligent and if a student needs an extra something, the student gets the extra help."

The school not only focuses on academics, but also on building character. "Citizenship is done in Character Ed classes. Discipline is school wide. We work together with that," Gerst said.

As well as with the students' parents. Gerst attributes much of the school's success to strong parent-teacher relationships. "There's a lot of conferencing from parents to teachers, phone calls, e-mails that's something we have available."

Last year, students scored way above the average on the Criterion Reference Test. "On the CRT from last year we had almost 99% of our students achieving or exceeding expectations," said Thursby.

Gerst attributes that to the entire school's desire to "dream big" and aim for excellence. "We evaluate what we've done, and then we really go and work on those areas that need improvement, and that's made a lot of difference for us, I think."

By doing just that, she says it makes the school the best place to be.

This is the 26th year for the reward. Winners are chosen based on criteria closely aligned with "No Child Left Behind."

The middle school will be recognized at the 2006 Schools of Excellence annual banquet on Friday, May 5, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

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