Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett schools among Blue Ribbon winners honored this week in Washington

Congratulations to these schools and their staffs:

From DOE:

Seven Georgia public schools and one private school were honored Tuesday in Washington, D.C.. at the 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools Ceremony held by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

The No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

“I congratulate these schools for being recognized as 2012 National Blue Ribbon Schools,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “The students, teachers and staff of these schools should be proud of their success. These schools are shining examples of what happens when everyone is focused on student learning.”

Blue Ribbon Schools are chosen in two categories. See criteria here.

HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOLS: Schools that scored in the top 10 percent in student achievement.

DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED SCHOOLS: Schools with at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged students that have dramatically improved student achievement to high levels. One Georgia private school was also named a National Blue Ribbon School. The selection process for private schools is different. See details here.



- Chase Street Elementary, Clarke County

- Austell Intermediate School, Cobb County

- Kittredge Magnet, DeKalb County

- Crabapple Crossing, Fulton County

- Fairmount Elementary, Gordon County

- Simpson Elementary, Gwinnett County

- Britt David Elementary, Muscogee County


- First Presbyterian Day School (Middle School), Macon

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

20 comments Add your comment


November 15th, 2012
11:29 am

Nice to see, and they should be congratulated. (Not a left handed compliment, but hearty congratulations)

One slight caveat – most top performing schools are ineligible for this reward because they don’t have at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and were already on top with little room for improvement. They get other distinctions, though, if not “Blue Ribbons”.


November 15th, 2012
11:55 am

There is no free lunch requirement for this Centrist. Most of the schools on this list don’t have FRL rates anywhere near 40 percent. Kittredge and Crabapple had 13 percent,Britt David has 17 percent and Simpson has less than 6 percent.
On the other hand, Fairmount, and Chase Street have FRL rates of well over 50 percent.



November 15th, 2012
11:56 am

Needed to say for the high performing category there is no FRL requirement.

Also, for awards that recognize improvement, it is hard for top performing schools.

Jarod Apperson

November 15th, 2012
12:17 pm

No offense to Kittredge (I’m sure they do a great job), but should a magnet school be rewarded based on their students outscoring regular schools on standardized tests? Surprise, surprise!


November 15th, 2012
12:24 pm

@ Concernedmom30329 – Under the eligibility requirements for either the HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOLS or DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED SCHOOLS it says this at the link provided above:

“At least one-third of the public schools nominated by each state must be schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

If it does not apply to the first category, it is worded and listed incorrectly.

You may be right that it is based on the free breakfast/lunch program, but it does not say so – there may be other criteria to fit into the “disadvantaged background” category.

Jarod Apperson

November 15th, 2012
12:26 pm

@Centrist, that just means the state has to nominate at least 1/3 of schools which meet that criteria. They can also nominate 2/3 of schools which do not meet the criteria. Most of these winners do not meet the criteria.


November 15th, 2012
12:30 pm

These schools are shinning examples of what happens when you segregate the Red Birds, Blue Birds and the Dead Birds by academic performance!


November 15th, 2012
12:34 pm

Definition of “disadvantaged background” is greatly expanded from just the FRL program:

 Person from high school with low average SAT/ACT scores or below the average State test results.
 Person from a school district where 50 percent or less of graduates go to college.
 Person who has a diagnosed physical or mental impairment that substantially limits participation in educational experiences.
 Person for whom English is not his or her primary language and for whom language is still a barrier to academic performance.
 Person who is first generation to attend college.
 Person from a high school where at least 30 percent of enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches.
Come from a family with an annual income below a level based on low-income thresholds established by the U.S. Census
Bureau, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index (Economically Disadvantaged).


November 15th, 2012
12:41 pm

There is nothing disadvantaged about the populations at KMS or Simpson. Maureen, perhaps you can get clarification.

Dunwoody Mom

November 15th, 2012
1:25 pm

No offense meant to Kittredge, but how how does a school that only allows top-notch students receive an award for top-notch students? Seems this should go to a “regular” school. JMHO.


November 15th, 2012
1:59 pm

Centrist, Wow! According to your link to the National Health Service Corps definition of disadvantaged, EVERY student in DeKalb County Schools can call themselves disadvantaged.

EVERY DCSD high schools has more than 30% of their students qualifying for free and reduced lunch (Dunwoody is 30.79% based on the October 2011 FTE report from GaDOE).

So now my child can call himself disadvantaged. Cool. Wonder what scholarships he can qualify for now…..

Of course I’m being sarcastic. What a poor definition of disadvantaged. No wonder our entitlement costs are growing.


November 15th, 2012
2:34 pm

@ Murphey – There is probably a pretty strong difference between being considered a disadvantaged child and simply attending a school classified as disadvantaged when it comes to subsidies/scholarships/entitlements.


November 15th, 2012
3:59 pm

I suspect that if a child comes from a home with 2 loving parents living together and married to one another he could never be considered “disadvantaged.” Most subsidies/scholarships/”entitlements” seem directed towards people who come from fractured homes and haploid families, and, those funds are terrific incentives for such homes and living arrangements to exist and grow. We’d all be better off if those funds were parceled out based on color blind merit.


November 15th, 2012
4:04 pm

Off topic?……….The new ‘ phenomenon ‘ imposed on the schools named CORE CURRICULUM with a set of ’strangling’ requirements for teachers to follow is not doing anything to help in the all round EDUCATION of our children …….The classrooms are ‘pressure cookers ‘ It is awful!!

Ole Guy

November 15th, 2012
4:18 pm

While these awards, on the surface, might be deemed…charitably…as…”very nice”, are these schools having alms cast upon their feet for simply…GETTING IT RIGHT.


While false praise for mediocrity is not a good thing, high honors for accomplishing, well, that for which one’s job requires is just as bad. Hip hip, hooray, these schools, under the controlled lab conditions of the right kids from the right families from the right socioeconomic backgrounds…ad nauseum…did good. THEY DID WHAT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO.

Howbout we start seeing some reports of real progress, perhaps where it counts.

“So-and-so, a graduate of Podunk High, recently graduated Suma Cum Bigtime from the U of Whathaveyou”. Perhaps…”Ajax Corp recently promoted Johnny Comelately, a graduate of Hometown High and Toughnuts U, to chief bottle washer. In his new assignment, Mr Comelately’s broad responsibilities will entail…”

Maureen, these stories you have presented thus far seem…well…pretty damn sad. I know, you can respond with a “don’t read em”, or you might start reporting on some REAL successes…successes which only spawned in the public school arena; successes which have their roots in an educational system which can be proud of achievement. Not achievement of “look, mom, I kept the crayon marks inside the line”, or “Wow, test scores are up. Now, 51% of kids can speil kat and dorg correctly”.

Recent reports of progress within the public school arena are very nice and, in fact, may even be true. However, always the skeptic, as many of us are (or should be), I think I speak for the majority when I request…no,let’s make that DEMAND…real results. I realize many of your glowing reports are the results, the product, of those whose primary interests lie in self-promotion; in job/funding justification. However, while the results seem to lie in 1) less-than respectable college graduation rates, 2) high levels of HOPE scholars on remediation, and 3) anti-social rates of behavior among young adults, all these walk-on-water reports don’t really, well…hold water. Perhaps you might consider interviewing a few of the educational counterparts, from whom these reports emanate, from the world of university academe. I am quite certain these people do not share the same survival mechanisms as those at the public schools leadership levels.

Pride and Joy

November 15th, 2012
5:02 pm

The amount of people who are actually disadvantaged cannot be measured by the free or reduced price lunch program because income is not verified. Education bureaucrats making top dollar were putting their kids on “free” lunches; they were hardly disadvantaged.


November 15th, 2012
5:25 pm

I agree with Dunwoody Mom. Kittredge darn well better be on a high achiever list — it’s a high achiever magnet school!

Skeptical Parent

November 15th, 2012
5:50 pm

“No offense meant to Kittredge, but how how does a school that only allows top-notch students receive an award for top-notch students?”

This kind of sleight of hand is commonplace.

For example, APS Superintendent Davis touts Carver Early College for its high performance, completely ignoring the fact that the students allowed into the school are highly motivated students previously performing well in difficult circumstances.

So, yeah. When you draw a line around the top performing 20% (whether you move them to another school or not), you’re going to see … a group of top performing kids inside that line. Shocker.

But often these kinds of tricks do go unnoticed by the general public.

Former Ivy Dad, current Chamblee Magnet Dad

November 15th, 2012
7:58 pm

Kudos to all on the list!


November 15th, 2012
8:53 pm

The criteria for the Disadvantage advantage defines just about anybody who never won no Blue Ribbon no how. (me). It is correct. Kudos to the magnificent seven schools! (The one charter school on the list also won a Blue Ribbon. This particular school qualified by nearly matching names on the list of felons who aint supposed to vote. Nothing suspicious here.) Those seven instutions of learning are going to need all the blue ribbons they can git.