Hand-In-Hand receives Bronze Award - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hand-In-Hand receives Bronze Award

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

December 5, 2008

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - A south Georgia primary school is honored for getting students off to a good start to their education.

Hand-In-Hand Primary School in Thomasville earned the Georgia Department of Education's Bronze Award for the 2nd year.

Only 33-elementary schools in the state received the designation for high scores and attendance.

Hand-In-Hand Primary is in it's 4th year serving three, four, and five year olds in Thomas County.  And the staff's dedication isn't going unnoticed.

"20% of our students last year exceeded kindergarten standards....95% of our students met or exceeded the standards...and we have never been on the needs improvement list," said Principal Jeanna Mayhall.

It's for those reasons the Georgia Department of Education presented the Bronze award to Hand-in-Hand. A school that's one of a kind in the state, housing 700 young learners.

"Our pre-K program we have a waiting list of about 40 kids," said Mayhall.

But it's not just awards like this that have parents lining up to bring their children. One of the draws is the school's conscious discipline program.

"A lot of children don't understand that they need to stop, and relax, so they can think and problem solve," said pre-K teacher Marnee Stone.

Every classroom has a safe place. When kids get angry or upset they send themselves practice stress relieving techniques and learn how to cope with their emotions.

"Two years ago we had about 220 office referrals that year. After training in conscious discipline we had 7 office referrals. So it really is a powerful program," said Mayhall.

And teachers say their love for teaching is just as strong as the student's love for learning.

"They want to learn, they come to you like little sponges ready to soak everything up," said Stone.

"If they enjoy learning it's automatically going to be a success," said Kindergarten teacher Angie Manning.

Hand-In-Hand also had the honor of taking part in the Partnership for Excellence Bus Tour last month.

Attendance at Hand-In-Hand primary school drastically improved last year. Two years ago... 15-percent of students missed 15 or more days. Last year... that number dropped to 4%.

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