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Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy Earns Family Friendly Status from State

Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy Earns Family Friendly Status from State

State School Superintendent Richard Woods visited Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy this week to deliver the latest accolade earned by its faculty, staff, students and community:  designation as a Family Friendly school. 

The Georgia Department of Education’s Family-Friendly Partnership School program celebrates Title I schools that work together with families and communities to create welcoming environments that lead to increased student achievement.  Schools are selected for participate in the program for two years and must identify two measurable goals for improvement in regard to welcoming families and the community.  Over the course of the two years, school administrators, teachers and staff participate in GaDOE professional learning opportunities and welcome review teams for site visits.  After a final walk-through to determine the success of the school’s improvement, the State School Superintendent visits to celebrate their completion of the program.     

group of adults touring a school, walking down hallways

Principal Penny Valle, left, describes the family atmosphere at Oak Grove for State School Superintendent Richard Woods as they tour the school.


Principal Penny Valle and Assistant Principal Lee Patti welcomed guests and gave an overview of the work Oak Grove has done to reach out to families and engage them in their child's school.  Specific hurdles to overcome included language barriers with the school's significant English Language Learner population, as well as a high number of low income families.  The presentation by administrators also included a walking tour of the school and its gardens, and included numerous stories and anecdotes about the family atmosphere at the Acworth school.  CCSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower and School Board Chair Kyla Cromer attended the presentation and tour, along with other CCSD staff from Curriculum & Instruction and School Operations.

woman giving presentation in a library

Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy Assistant Principal Lee Patti goes over the data collected as part of the project.

"We are so proud of the Oak Grove ES STEAM Academy team for the dedicated efforts to ensure families feel welcome and engaged at their child's school," said Dr. Hightower.  "Their work over the last two years has truly expanded the school's reach in the community.  The teachers, staff and administration have done an outstanding job, and this state recognition acknowledges their hard work on behalf of students and their families."

Superintendent Woods, accompanied by GaDOE Family Engagement Specialist Mandi Griffin and Deputy State Superintendent Shaun Owen, expressed his appreciation and admiration for the hard work and effort put in by Oak Grove teachers and staff as he toured the school.  At the conclusion of the tour, the group reconvened in the media center where Superintendent Woods congratulated the school and presented Principal Valle with a large engraved plate celebrating the school's achievement in becoming a Family Friendly school.

adults standing in school hallway

Principal Valle shares a story with Chief of Staff Mike McGowan, Dr. Brian Hightower, Kyla Cromer and Superintendent Woods on the tour of the school.