St. Simons Elementary School fifth grade teacher Bryan Hendley goes over a classroom assignment with his students. St. Simons Elementary School is one of two Glynn County schools recently recognized by Gov. Nathan Deal as a high performing school.

Bobby Haven/The News

Two Glynn County schools claimed a spot this week among the 218 Georgia public schools to receive 2016 Highest Performance or Greater school awards from the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.

St. Simons Elementary School was ranked as a Gold level school by the office. Oglethorpe Point Elementary School received a Silver level ranking.

“St. Simons Elementary and Oglethorpe Point Elementary schools both have consistently held faculty and staff in place, and continuously show a dedicated group of devoted, active parents and community partners,” said Superintendent Howard Mann, in a statement from the school system. “No doubt, these factors play a large role in helping these schools remain as top-ranking schools in our district.”

The Governor’s office also listed the state’s chronically failing schools, in which Glynn County’s Burroughs-Molette was included.

Mann said the school has been making progress to move off this list in recent years, due to initiatives put in place by the school system. The school’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) score, a statewide school improvement measurement, has slowly climbed in the last several years. In 2014, Burroughs-Molette earned a 49.7, in 2015 it earned a 58.1 and in 2016 it received a 58.3.

“As for Burroughs-Molette, this is a school where, for the past several years, we have seen it make small gains, and it did again this year,” Mann said. “There are initiatives in place that are actively working to increase their rating at the county and state levels, and we know we have work left to do.”

The school system is working to increase these initiatives and to generate more parent involvement in hopes of seeing the school improve overall.

“It’s our goal to see this school off this list in coming years,” Mann said. “With the administration, teachers and staff we have in place here, I have confidence we can make that happen.”

The GOSA school awards are part of Georgia’s Single Statewide Accountability System. Highest Performing schools must earn a three-year average CCRPI score that ranks in at least the 93rd percentile. Greatest Gains schools must earn a three-year average CCRPI Progress Score that ranks in at least the 93rd percentile.

Carter Akins, principal at Oglethorpe Point Elementary, learned Friday afternoon about the recognition his school had received.

“I’m just thrilled and excited,” he said. “I am just so proud of the teachers, the staff and our students for making such a great effort and doing such a good job.”

Akins didn’t credit the honor to any particular program or initiative. Instead, he gave kudos to the people there.

“The teachers and the students, they’re the ones who are learning the curriculum and teaching the curriculum and working hard to make sure that they know what to do and are doing it well,” he said.

This is St. Simons Elementary’s second year to be recognized.

“This award speaks to the hard work of all our teachers, parents and students,” said Katy Ginn, the school’s principal.

Bryan Hendley, a fifth-grade teacher at St. Simons Elementary, said the school’s success likely stems from the caring atmosphere fostered by the administrators and teachers.

“It sounds like a simplistic answer, but I do think that when the kids feel comfortable and cared about, it helps us be able to just instruct,” he said.

Ginn said this is also the second year that St. Simons Elementary has had the highest CCRPI score in Glynn County and in the First District Regional Education Service Agency. The school’s CCRPI score was also in the top 20 elementary schools in the state this year.