Kittredge Magnet School and Austin Elementary School earn recognition for DeKalb

Two DeKalb County School District (DCSD) schools have earned the title of 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools, courtesy of the United States Department of Education.

Kittredge Magnet School and Austin Elementary School were both named 2018 National Blue Ribbon Schools on Monday, October 1, 2018. As honorees, the schools join more than 8,500 nationwide who have been recognized for academic excellence as well as the closing of achievement gaps in economic and social subgroups.

“We are extremely pleased, but not surprised, that both Kittredge and Austin earned this tremendous honor. DCSD is home to excellent schools, and these two campuses are among the best performing and most innovative schoolhouses around,” said Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green. “We encourage our community to celebrate with the students and staff members at both schools. Once again, we are proving there are no limits to learning in DCSD!”

Since 1982, the U.S. Department of Education has honored approximately 300 schools each year. According to the department, the National Blue Ribbon Award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and school community members in creating safe and welcoming campuses, as evidenced by achievement and subject mastery.

group of Kittredge students pose near hedgeKittredge Magnet School—located at 1663 Nancy Creek Drive in Atlanta—earned National Blue Ribbon distinction after first earning the Greatest Gains Gold Award in 2017, as well as the Highest Performing Platinum Award in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Kittredge was previously named a National Blue Ribbon honoree in 2003 and 2012.

“At Kittredge, we strive to maintain high standards of performance through collaborative planning, rigorous instruction, and high-quality assessment. Students participate in an enriched curriculum along with courses in fine arts, music, and German,” said Dr. Laura Neely, principal at Kittredge Magnet. “These outcomes and opportunities are possible because of our constant focus on the Kittredge Magnet Mission: ‘To nurture and empower our diverse population of students to become independent thinkers by fostering student growth through an innovative and rigorous instructional approach.’ We are honored to be a three-time recipient of this prestigious award.”

Kittredge is also a PASCH (Schools: Partners for the Future) Award School, which partners with the German Federal Foreign Office, the Central Office for Schools Abroad, the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the Pedagogical Exchange Service of the Standing Conference. Students at Kittredge are also annual regional or state competitors for multiple team events including Reading Bowl, Academic Bowl, Science Olympiad, and Lego Robotics.

Kittredge’s band, orchestra, and chorus have earned superior ratings at every Georgia Music Educators Festival. Students participate in annual field trips to Rock Eagle, Jekyll Island, and Space Camp at the US Space & Rocket Center. The school chorus traveled and performed in Ireland and Scotland in 2018.

group of students jump in front of Austin ElementaryAustin Elementary—located at 5435 Roberts Drive in Dunwoody—has also earned the Greatest Gains Platinum Award in both 2015 and 2016, as well as the Highest Performing Platinum Award in 2015, 2016, and 2017, making Austin one of the highest performing schools in Georgia, as well as one striving to continue to be better.

“The National Blue Ribbon Schools Award acknowledges that Austin is successful in many more ways than just high test scores,” said Dr. Ann Culbreath, principal at Austin. “We provide opportunities for students to grow socially and emotionally also. We are grateful for partnerships with our parents and community and realize that only by working together are we able to help our students reach their fullest potential and accomplish great things.”

Austin also celebrates achievement through such past activities as an Ellis Island Reenactment, a Hurray-for-the-USA Performance, a Second Grade Circus, a International STEM Celebration, the Pinwheels for Parkland initiative, the annual Eagle Bowl, the Academy Award of Books, a 5th Grade Leaders program, and honors chorus. Students routinely demonstrate their learning through LEGO Robotics, Sphero Robots, 3D printing, Little Bits, Makey Makey, computer programming and more.