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Lithia Springs HS Wins Star Award for Promising Practices

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Lithia Springs High School was notified by the SSTAGE Board of Directors on April 14 that the school was chosen to receive the 2016 SSTAGE Star Award for Promising Practices at the high school level. This award is sponsored by the Student Support Team Association for Georgia Educators and is just the latest award won by the school. In March at the National Youth at Risk conference in Savannah, Lithia received honorable mention as a High Flying School.

"We are excited to be recognized by SSTAGE as the STAR Award winner for promising practices at the high school level. The School Improvement Grant (SIG), which we received several years ago, really helped to transform LSHS; it prompted us to establish a number of robust student support and intervention practices that we have carried forward to this day. The result has been the continued increased performance of our students. We are honored and appreciative of the fact that SSTAGE has recognized our work in the areas of student support and intervention through the STAR Award," said LSHS Principal Dr. Garrick Askew.  

Among the many factors the SSTAGE Site Team noted in awarding Lithia Springs this most recent honor included the following:

·         There is a pervasive culture of collaboration at Lithia Springs High School and sense of shared responsibility and team work.

·         The principal and school leaders set an excellent example of shared decision making and use data proactively to plan and support learning for all students.

·         The school has selected a limited number of well-defined targeted goals which are prominently displayed in their data room with the ongoing data.

·         The attendance committee closely follows the data on a weekly basis and uses a problem solving process to develop effective strategies.

·         Remediation (flex time) is built into the daily school schedule and available for all students who need support. Student placements are adjusted every nine weeks as needed.

·         Adding an extra ten minutes to the school day is unusual and remarkable, and it equates to 6 additional days of much needed instruction.

·         Sufficient time for team meetings and professional learning is scheduled weekly with the school day.

·         Students identified for reading instruction are placed in a reading class which uses a research based intervention and small group instruction.

·         PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support) has been implemented for four years and the atmosphere of the cafeteria and classroom behavior shows its positive effect.

·         The literacy and math focus is across the curriculum.

·         Counselors are active participants in the network of support for students and they are reaching out to students and parents in creative ways.

·         Additional program options have been developed for students needing special support including the Project Success Academy and CHAMP after school program.

Lithia Springs High School has made great strides in student achievement since receiving a School Improvement Grant in 2011. Lithia Springs had the highest growth of 48 schools that received SIG grants in Georgia. Between 2012 and 2015, Lithia’s graduation rate rose from 61.8% to 87.7%. The school implemented a school improvement model called “The Mane Thing” that focuses school and teacher decisions around prioritized needs of the students and community. Students at Lithia spend 30 minutes of the day in a session dedicated to providing remediation to some students, providing attendance and discipline interventions to other students, and individualized enrichment.

In a letter announcing the award, SSTAGE President Cheryl Riddle stated, “Lithia Springs High School has demonstrated excellence by embedding RTI (Response to Intervention) into its school improvement process with notable results. Your enthusiasm, team collaboration, and dedication will be an inspiration to educational leaders and teachers across the state of Georgia.” Response to Intervention is a framework for modifying instruction based on early evaluation of student-learning needs.

Lithia Springs High School will be recognized for the award during the 2017 Promising Practices Conference in Athens in January and has been invited to present a workshop session during the conference.

 

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