CONYERS -- Each school in Rockdale County has something to celebrate this school year.
Officials at Rockdale County Public Schools recently presented each administrator with at least one award for their school based on the past year's academics and rigor.
RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry presented the Highest Aspirations Awards and the Superintendent's Academic Rigor Awards at the system's annual start-up meeting, as part of an annual tradition in the county. School administrators were on hand to accept the awards and were given a video of the ceremony to show their schools.
"Every school got something," said Cindy Ball, director of Community Relations at RCPS, adding that a lot of schools received two or three awards. "We didn't make it so everyone got one by lowering the criteria, though."
The awards were sponsored by Cannon Financial Strategists this year, she said.
The Highest Aspirations Awards fell into three categories.
-- Highest Aspirations Award: 90 percent or more of students meeting or exceeding areas of reading, English language arts, math and/or writing in the all student classification on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests or End of Course Tests.
Seventeen awards were given in this category.
-- Defying the Norm Award: 90 percent or more of students meeting or exceeding areas of reading, English language arts and/or math in the high risk classification.
Fifteen awards were presented in this category.
-- Defying the Norm Award: 10-point academic growth in the high risk classification.
Eight awards were given to schools for this accomplishment.
The Superintendent's Academic Rigor Awards also were given in three categories.
-- Highest Aspirations Award for Academic Rigor: 90 percent or more of juniors and seniors took one or more Advanced Placement classes in a school year.
The Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology was the only school awarded in this category for having 100 percent participation.
-- Highest Aspirations Award for Academic Rigor: 10 percent or more growth in the number of students who took one or more AP exams.
Four awards were presented in this category, including Heritage High School for growing 24 percent, Rockdale County High School for 15 percent, the Rockdale Career Academy for 30 percent and the Rockdale Magnet School for 21 percent.
-- Defying the Norm Award for Academic Rigor: 10 percent or more growth in the number of economically disadvantaged students who take one or more AP exams.
Three awards were given in this category, including Heritage High for growing 75 percent, RCA for 42 percent and the Magnet School for 28 percent.
"These awards represent the hard work of our students and teachers. We celebrate the achievements of our schools, yet pinpoint our challenges and areas to focus our work moving forward," Autry said. "This first three weeks of school has demonstrated that this work has begun in earnest. I appreciate the accomplishments of the last school year and look forward to celebrating the continued success of our students."