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Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School » Students Named To SWAG Team For Outstanding Achievement

Students Named To SWAG Team For Outstanding Achievement

  Twenty Utopian Academy scholars were honored for outstanding academic achievement on the Measures of Academic Progress Assessment, a standardized test that evaluates student performance in reading, math, and science. The scholars were recognized recently at an awards ceremony where they were presented with T-shirts boasting their accomplishment. The “SWAG” (Students With Academic Growth) shirts were designed by a visual arts student at Utopian Academy. “SWAG is a way to recognize students for academic achievement,” said Ms. Kelli Peterson, principal of Utopian Academy for the Arts.  “Based on the test, we were able to see which students were performing on grade level, below grade level, and above. For any of our students that achieved above grade level on reading, math, or science that is something we definitely wanted do celebrate.” Nearly 10 percent of the school’s 250 scholars exceeded standards in at least one or more categories on the MAP Assessment.  The benchmark exam provides individual student data on the strengths and weaknesses of each scholar. Teachers can use the data to design lessons that offer academic support for struggling students and academic enrichment for those who are performing at high-levels. Retests are then given to determine whether scholars are showing improvement in core subject areas over a period of time. According to the recent MAP Assessment, between 74 percent to 85 percent of sixth graders at Utopian are meeting and exceeding standards in math, reading, and science. The range was slightly higher for upperclassmen. The data shows that between 80 percent to 84 percent of seventh graders and between 76 percent to 87 percent of eighth graders are meeting and exceeding standards in math, reading, and science. Utopian scholars who aced the exams were applauded as high fliers. Girls received pink SWAG shirts and boys received blue SWAG shirts. Seventh graders Kayla Stokes and Jailyn Sorrells wore their SWAG gear proudly on a recent day. “I never thought that I would have an opportunity to receive an honor like this,” Stokes said. “It’s really exciting.” Sorrells, who wore her pink shirt under fashionable overalls, agreed. “It feels pretty good.” Both girls said that they would continue to work hard in their classes to maintain their academic standing as members of the SWAG Team. The T-shirt designer, Naomi Swanson, was floored to see classmates wearing her creation. She unknowingly designed the shirt as part of a special project for Peterson. The principal even paid the eighth grader for the job. “ I took the design to a printing company and placed it on some shirts,” Peterson said. “Students didn’t know anything about this until we had an assembly in the cafeteria. We called everyone’s name and presented them to the students that had performed above average. The T-shirt is their ticket to dress down every Friday.” The experience gave Swanson a glimpse at what her future could hold if she continues to pursue her passion in graphic arts. “It means so much to me,” Swanson said. “They didn’t have go out of school to get a T-shirt designed. I did this with my own artwork and my own talent. That means that I have potential. I know how to make art. I can use that talent for so many things.’’ Scholars who did not receive SWAG shirts still have time to earn the honor. The next MAP Assessment will be administered during the winter months before holiday break. The high fliers will be invited to join the SWAG Team. “We want to get kids excited to be smart and give them something to work for,” Peterson said. 20151016_143733_resized_120151016_144110_resized_1 20151016_143924_resized_1 20151016_143649_resized_1 20151016_144236_resized_1


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