From staff reports
MILLEDGEVILLE — With Oak Hill Middle School collaborating with the community, providing opportunities for students to develop citizenship skills and ranking above the 75th percentile in academics, has led the school family to earn the national High-Flying School Award.
Selected out of 37 nominations across the country, Oak Hill is one of five high-performing schools receiving the 2013 High-Flying School Award presented by Georgia Southern University based on minority diversity, academic achievement, democratic education, citizenship development and commitment to community collaboration.
Of Oak Hill’s 1,200 students, 77 percent live at or below the poverty level.
“There are six areas we have to meet in order to apply for the grant,” said Dr. Linda Ramsey, Oak Hill principal. “One of them is to serve a diverse population, for which 74 percent of our students are minority students.”
Based on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, nearly 79 percent of students met or exceeded in the content area of math in 2011, an increase of almost 5 percent from the previous year.
To be nominated for the special award, the school also had to show how the curriculum includes objectives and activities related to the growth of students as individuals who are successful members of a democratic society.
As a High-Flying School, Oak Hill provides opportunities for students to develop citizenship skills through weekly campaigns for Relay for Life and United Way, visits to the veterans home, support of the Ronald McDonald House and creating food baskets for local families in need.
The middle school also demonstrates high levels of collaboration with the community and Georgia College to address youth at-risk issues.
“Through the Youth Enrichment Services (YES) program, a program partnered with Georgia College, students are targeted who are identified as at-risk of academic failure. The goal of the YES program is to raise achievement and educational aspirations for students as well as their adult family members,” states the grant application written by school faculty LaRonda Fleming, Teresa Chester, Lisa Ruark and Monica Hill, making up the grant committee. “Because of the high percentage of at-risk students dropping out of school, Oak Hill has taken on the challenge of collaborating with Georgia Power to promote the importance of all students staying in school throughout high school and beyond.”
In addition to Oak Hill, the 2013 national winners include SAVE High School, Anchorage, Alaska; Whitehall Elementary School, Anderson, S.C.; Moore Elementary School, Griffin, Ga.; and Newton High School, Covington, Ga.
Schools will be recognized at the 24th National Youth-At-Risk Conference’s opening session Monday, March 4 at the Hyatt Regency in Savannah.
Each school selected as the award recipient will receive $1,000, one double-occupancy hotel room for three nights, and paid registration fees for two people to attend the National Youth-At-Risk Conference held March 3 through 6.
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