The kindergarten through fifth grade school, which serves about 575 students, is just one of seven schools in Georgia that received the 2012 honor and the 20th in Cobb schools history to be named a Blue Ribbon School. Timber Ridge Elementary in Marietta received the recognition last year.
Hendricks Principal Patrick O’Connell said, “I’m just so proud for our teachers and our kids. Our teachers work so hard and to get recognition like this at this time couldn’t have been more perfect!”
O’Connell and Hendricks’ Teacher of the Year Terri Carlin, who teaches third grade, will head to Washington, D.C., in November to receive a plaque and flag for their school’s recognition at an awards ceremony. Carlin is among about 50 teachers on staff at the southwest Cobb school.
The Blue Ribbon Schools program honors public and private schools where students achieve at the highest levels, as well as schools that make progress in closing the achievement gap.
The “Dramatically Improving Schools” category recognizes schools with at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged students that have shown notable improvements in student achievement.
Since 2008, the percentage of Hendricks students meeting or exceeding standards on the math section of the Criterion-Reference Competency Test has leaped from 66 percent to 89 percent; for the reading portion, from 82 percent to 93 percent.
During that same period, the percentage of students exceeding standards on the math section of the CRCT rose from 17 percent to 55 percent in 2012; in reading, from 25 percent to 40 percent.
O’Connell, who started his second year as principal at Hendricks this August, said the school was contacted last year by the state department about the possible recognition.
After collecting lots of data, which included student achievement targets, test scores and months of preparation, they mailed off their 30-page application in February and O’Connell received a phone call last week about the honor.
“This is a good thing for our school and we want the good work to get out,” he said. “We think some people don’t know about us but we’re a great school with an incredible staff and great kids and families.”
One Hendricks parent who’s well aware of the school’s success is Lillie Hinton of Austell.
“I think it’s an awesome honor,” she said.
Her son Immanuel is a fifth-grader at Hendricks and her older son Jeremy, who’s now an eighth-grader at Garrett Middle, attended the school as well.
“Since my kids have been there, the statistics have always been on the rise and I just think the recognition is well overdue,” she said. “I’ve had nothing but good experiences with all of their teachers there, too.”
The Blue Ribbon Schools program began in 1982 as a means of recognizing many of the nation’s most successful schools. Schools that meet award criteria are nominated by state education officials and selected by the U.S. Department of Education.