By Carrie Washburn-Murray | Photography by JOM III Gallery, LLC APR 2015
In the heart of the busy North Macon business district, Sonny Carter Elementary School was opened in January 1994. The school was named for Captain Manley Lanier “Sonny” Carter, Jr., an astronaut who was born in Macon and who graduated from Lanier High School. In 1989, Captain Carter orbited the Earth 79 times during a five day NASA mission aboard the “Space Shuttle Discovery.” He accomplished many incredible goals throughout his life because he never stopped learning. Carter Elementary fosters a love of learning for all students, and cultivates high expectations for them to set and achieve their lifelong goals.
Among the various awards and recognitions the school has been given over the last two decades, Carter Elementary has consistently received recognition as a Georgia Title I Distinguished School for making adequate yearly progress for nine consecutive years. They serve a diverse student body of approximately 530 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. These students represent over 13 different countries, with households reporting as many as five world languages spoken. Strong parental support, community partnerships, high academic standards and a challenging curriculum are all part of what make Carter Elementary a great place to learn and work.
Carter Elementary provides challenging and equitable educational programs for all students that ensure achievements of learning, thinking, and life skills. Their mission is to continuously improve upon those achievements, through the efforts of internal and external stakeholders collaborating and sharing accountability. The administration and staff at Carter Elementary share the following core beliefs:
- We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
- We believe in creating a climate that exudes warmth, caring, safety, and inclusion.
- We believe in providing an instructional program that will prepare students to become successful, productive, and contributing citizens.
- We believe in the partnership of the home, school, and community in educating the whole child.
Ultimately, they are striving to prepare their students for the future, both academically, and through building strength of character.
The curriculum at Carter Elementary is guided by the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) which provides a consistent framework to prepare students for continued education and employment in the 21st century. This provides optimal learning opportunities for all students. Their schedule is designed to include 90 minutes of instructional time in both reading/language arts and in mathematics. Students also receive Physical Education, guidance lessons, music, and art instruction, in addition to science and social studies.
Learning support services are provided to meet the needs of students at varied learning abilities, by offering gifted classes, Individualized Educational Plans (IEP), morning tutorial programs, and Early Intervention Programs (EIP) to ensure the success of students at all levels. Students who speak English as a second language are provided with English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs as well as additional tutoring throughout the instructional day, as needed.
Trend data shows that over 90% of Sonny Carter Students consistently meet or exceed standards in reading, and over 80% of their students consistently meet or exceed standards in math, science and social studies.
Latricia Reeves serves as principal of Sonny Carter Elementary School. Prior to becoming an educator, Latricia worked in retail management for several years. After marriage and three children of her own, she realized a change in career was necessary. As Mrs. Reeves’s children reached school age, she became very involved in their school. While substituting in the Bibb County School District, Latricia discovered her passion for teaching children and making a difference in their lives.
In 1996, Latricia joined the Bibb County School District as an elementary school teacher and spent nearly a decade educating children. In 2005, she joined the administrative team at Sonny Carter Elementary School as an assistant principal, and was later appointed to serve as principal.
Latricia Reeves earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Albany State University, her Masters of Education in Middle Grades from Fort Valley State University, her Education Leadership Certification from Georgia College and her Education Specialist from Troy University.
Mrs. Reeves states, “I strongly believe that education is the vehicle that transports children safely through their meandering journey of intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development. It is driven by individuals who are deeply committed to following the road map that leads to their intrinsic belief that all children can learn.” #