By Kelli J. Cook 2001
Progressive & Proud
When the National Anthem echoes throughout the school each morning, Linwood students and staff stand especially straight and proud. Comprised of approximately 400 students pre-kindergarten through sixth grade on Robins Air Force Base, Linwood is charged with serving the children of men and women who have sworn to protect and defend our country. And the school’s seemingly limitless programs and awards illustrate that the Linwood staff is both committed and honored to serve these children.
Perhaps the best validation of its commitment to children, Linwood Elementary School was selected as a 1999 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. As explained in the article entitled “Is Your’s a Blue Ribbon School?” in the December 2000 issue of Georgia Family, this means Linwood has been distinguished for its excellence in leadership, teaching, curriculum, student achievement, parent involvement, and community support. School representatives attended the national recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C., where President Clinton was the guest speaker.
Another very prestigious award earned by Linwood Elementary is the national recognition as a “1999 Safe & Drug-Free School.” Awarded to only four elementary schools in the country in 1999, the U.S. Department of Education was certainly influenced by the comprehensive discipline plan designed and implemented by the staff at Linwood. This plan, entitled “Linwood Pride Discipline Plan: Making Responsible Choices,” aims to teach students responsible decision-making. The underlying theme of this plan is “We believe in you. We trust you. We know you can do it.” The percentage of students demonstrating acceptable behavior has increased from 84% to 92%, tangible proof of its effectiveness.
Under the direction and vision of Principal Terry Schreck, the staff continues to meet and exceed the many challenges of educating children at a school with a 41% mobility rate because of their parents’ active military status. Their students consistently score well above the mean on nationally normed standardized tests. And the number of students in the lowest 25th percentile decreases dramatically as students progress through the grades of Linwood.
The staff also recognizes that the life of a military family can be grueling and unpredictable so they make a special effort to have a positive influence in their students’ lives. The staff received special recognition from USA Today for their participation in “Make a Difference Day.” On this day, many teachers and staff gave up a weekend to watch, entertain, and play with their students so that their weary military parents could enjoy a well-deserved break. They have also escorted Linwood children to sing at the State Capitol and later at the opening of an Atlanta Braves game.
The students and staff know no limits when it comes to learning and succeeding—just ask RAFB Schools Superintendent Dr. Joseph Guiendon. He challenged Linwood students to read for one million minutes before the school year ended and then he would dye his hair blue in honor of Linwood becoming a Blue Ribbon School. The children did their part (1,009,074 minutes to be exact) so Dr. Guiendon got his hair dyed while the children delightedly helped!
Linwood Elementary is proud and rightfully so. They attempt not only to achieve excellence in the classroom, but also to develop productive, responsible citizens who will truly make a difference in the world they will one day inherit. Principal Schreck comments, “We dedicate ourselves to offering these special children the necessary tools so that they too can stretch their wings and fly.” #
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