Woodstock Elementary school on Friday was formally recognized for its dedication to promoting a family friendly atmosphere.
The school was presented the Georgia Department of Education’s 2013 Family-Friendly Partnership School Award by State Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Barge during a ceremony at the school.
Only four schools statewide were bestowed the honor, which recognizes the Title I schools – the schools with higher levels of students from low-income families – that maintain the best customer service statewide.
"I am amazed at what you have done and what you are doing," Barge told school leaders during his visit, which included the presentation of a giant red welcome mat and a plaque, a tour of the school and a roundtable discussion with administrators, teachers, parents and volunteers. "Most importantly, families are respected. My hope is that every school will be able to learn from you all."
Schools were selected based on factors such as student and parent engagement, staff friendliness, community partnerships, easy-to-use websites, clear signage and comfortable waiting areas.
As part of the selection process, Georgia DOE staff members visited finalist schools and conducted interviews with students, parents, staff and community members. Those staffers also called the school as “parents” to anonymously gauge customer service.
“This school exemplifies how our teachers work collaboratively and give 110 percent… even with fewer work days and fewer resources, they still get the job done,” said Cherokee County School Board Chair Janet Read, who participated in the ceremony and roundtable.
The ceremony, which was attended by students, parents, staff and community members, also featured a performance of the school song, “Woodstock of My Heart,” by students.
Audience members also heard Remarks from the song's writer, city of Woodstock Historian Juanita Hughes, as well as from Barge, Cherokee County School District Deputy Superintendent Dr. Brian Hightower, Woodstock Elementary Principal Kim Montalbano and previous principals.
“It does take a village to raise a child, and we have many partners who work together to make a difference,” Montalbano said. “Our hard work has definitely paid off.”
Teams from the winning schools also will be invited to attend a Succeed Through Service professional learning seminar hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.
The awards are sponsored by state Department of Education, Georgia Foundation for Public Education and The Ritz-Carlton hotels in Atlanta, Buckhead and Reynolds Plantation.
“This award to us is proof of more than a decade of hard work,” Hightower said. “Teachers and parents are working together, side-by-side and hand-in-hand. Woodstock Elementary School is a shining example.”