Local School System Wins Big Award

By Ben Wolf
Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Georgia Department of Education says Lowndes County is number one in the state.

"This award is probably the most notable achievement that we've earned in the school system," said Lowndes County Schools Superintendent Steve Smith.

The large size distinguished district of the year is given to the school system that best improves education for economically disadvantaged children.

"You start out and you're not doing too good and then all of the sudden you just start getting better and better at it and self esteem. Your self esteem just changes," said Lowndes High senior Layton Tompkins.

Teachers targeted areas where students were struggling with predictor tests.

"From that we would place them in classes, social studies skills classes or something similar that could help them be better prepared," said Lowndes High guidance counselor Dana Hutchinson.

With the award comes a $50,000 check to the school system. Even though Lowndes County is on top, officials say the district is still improving.

"We're looking at our special education population. We're looking at our advancement placement and our gifted population. We're trying to make academic improvements in each of these areas," said Smith.

While local teachers have been working hard on improvements, some inspiration found its way into the classroom.

"I kinda wouldn't mind going into the teaching to help kids like me become better," added Tompkins.

Becoming better is what this school district says it's all about. The award money is paid for with federal Title One funds.