Northgate High School Honored as School of Excellence

Thu, 01/29/2009 - 5:38pm
By: The Citizen

Northgate High School was honored as a 2008 Georgia School of Excellence on Friday, Jan. 23, at the Georgia Department of Education’s 2nd annual Excellence Awards banquet.

The banquet was held at the Georgia International Conference Center in College Park, and honored all 26 of Georgia’s 2008 Schools of Excellence.

Coweta County was well-represented at the banquet. Northgate High’s Air Force JROTC Color Guard presented the colors for the assembled guests.  Northgate junior Jennie Lambert sang the Star-Spangled Banner for the state-wide crowd, and Northgate JROTC cadet George Gregory led the in the pledge to the flag.

Superintendent Blake Bass and Board of Education members joined Northgate faculty at the event, as Northgate High School’s Principal, Dr. Therese Reddekopp, accepted the school’s Excellence award.

School of Excellence recognition – awarded by Georgia’s 13 Congressional districts – is given each year by the Georgia Department of Education to elementary, middle and high schools to schools that have shown the greatest improvement or highest achievement across the state. Schools of Excellence like Northgate were honored along with Georgia’s 2008 National Blue Ribbon Schools and National Title I Distinguished Schools.

Reddekopp said that the Northgate faculty was surprised to be named a School of Excellence, since schools can’t apply for the award.

“We didn’t have any idea that we were being considered. We are all pleased with our progress, and we are humbled by the honor,” she said.

 “We know that Northgate High School is an outstanding school, and the faculty and staff there are committed to high standards of student instruction,” said Superintendent Bass.  “It is a pleasure for them, and for our school system and school board, to see them honored at the state level for that commitment.”

Bass also noted that Northgate’s School of Excellence award is an exceptional honor for the whole Coweta County School System. Northgate is the fourth Coweta school to be recognized as a School of Excellence in four years, despite the fact that only a handful of schools around the state are recognized as such each year.

Arbor Springs Elementary School was named a 2007 Georgia School of Excellence, Arnco-Sargent Elementary School was a 2006 honoree, and Jefferson Parkway Elementary School was a 2005 honoree.

"These schools are getting great results from all students in many different areas," said Superintendent Kathy Cox, of the Schools of Excellence. "The teachers, students and administrators at these schools truly represent excellence."

Georgia recognizes Schools of Excellence in one of two categories from each Congressional District - either as a “Top 10 percent” school (which includes schools that are in the top 10 percent of schools in Georgia as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics) or a “Greatest Gains” school (which recognizes schools that demonstrated the greatest continuous gains in student achievement for the past three years as measured by assessments in reading and mathematics).”

Receiving either recognition places Schools of Excellence in the top 20 to 25 schools in Georgia, out of more than 1,800 public schools state-wide.

Northgate was honored in the “Greatest Gains” category, even though the school’s standardized test scores have ranked relatively high among Georgia high schools for several years.

Reddekopp attributed Northgate’s performance to her faculty and faculty leaders, who meet regularly to measure the school’s performance and outline how best to improve student achievement.

“For example, several years ago Northgate teachers and administrators agreed that we wanted to encourage students to take higher level math classes, and focus on giving them the support they needed to take more challenging courses.” The school has been successful at that, and student enrollment in more rigorous math courses has resulted in higher scores on the Georgia High School Graduation test math section.

In addition to being top-achieving schools, a school must meet several other criteria in order to be considered as a School of Excellence.  A school must:

• Meet AYP for a minimum of three consecutive years

• Meet or exceed state mean scores in Science and Social Studies (with the exception of Kindergarten through 2nd grades, which do not test in this area)

• Not be considered a “Persistently Dangerous School” under the Unsafe School Choice Option of No Child Left Behind

• Offer a minimum of two AP courses (grades 9-12 only)

• Be in existence for five years

Schools that have been recognized as a Georgia School of Excellence are not eligible to win again for five years. If no schools qualify in a specific Congressional District, an award is not given.

A full list of Georgia’s 2008 Schools of Excellence can be found at the Georgia Department of Education website, at

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suggarfoot's picture
Submitted by suggarfoot on Sat, 01/31/2009 - 5:25pm.

Northgate is an excellent school. Imagine, Coweta builds schools on land donated by developers. They have new computers coming out their.... Our computer system in antiquated.

Our board become land barons, and the developers donate nothing. If Fayette county BOE members run out of money, no problem, they just gouge the taxpayers and use/scare the crap out of the teachers to get what they need.

It is just amazing how Coweta's school are going up up up, and ours are going down down down.

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