SAT scores rise in Fulton and Atlanta schools

SAT scores released Aug. 26 by the New York-based College Board showed positive trends for Fulton County and Atlanta public school students overall, though not for each high school.

Fulton’s scores were the highest in the Atlanta area, and Sandy Springs’ Riverwood High School ranked 19th in a list of Georgia’s 20 highest-scoring schools. Riverwood’s class of 2008 scored an average of 1616 out of 2400, up four points from the class of 2007.

North Springs Charter High School for Arts and Science, however, saw its average fall from 1649 in 2007, eighth-best in the state, to a 2008 average of 1570.

That put North Springs well below the Fulton average of 1593, which was up four points from 2007. The national average this year was 1511; the state average was 1466.

Superintendent Cindy Loe was pleased by Fulton’s improvement. “It shows that our schools are preparing students for academic success beyond high school,” she said. “Many of our schools have increased their scores, and we’re studying their best practices to see how others might benefit.”

While the percentage of students taking the SAT nationwide decreased from 48 percent to 45 percent, the portion of Fulton students taking the test remained at 83 percent.

In Atlanta, the average score this year was 1300, up seven points from 2007. Buckhead’s North Atlanta High School posted an average of 1378, compared with 1380 in 2007.

Superintendent Beverly Hall said: “We are pleased that our students’ SAT scores showed improvement. However, we are very aware that we have significant challenges.”

As a whole, Georgia’s average score of 1466 was a six-point drop from 2007, causing the state to slip one position to 47th in the nation.

Suzuki School adds second campus

Atlanta’s Suzuki School was set to open its second Buckhead campus Sept. 2 at Ahavath Achim Synagogue at the corner of Peachtree Battle Avenue and Northside Drive.

The 12,500-square-foot space serves 185 children in addition to the 290 at the primary Buckhead location.

Suzuki consolidated its Buckhead operations last year with a new campus at 443 E. Paces Ferry Road. But the new Ahavath Achim location and the East Paces Ferry Road campus are nearing capacity. The growth of the private preparatory school for children through kindergarten has necessitated the hiring of 30 additional full-time staff.

“No one is immune from the impact of a bad economy,” said Debra Markham, the head of schools. “During the 32 years since The Suzuki School was founded, there have been a number of economic downturns. We have observed that parents will cut back in areas they don’t consider necessary, but quality education has never been one of them.”

Galloway School honors founder at convocation

The Galloway School paid tribute to Elliot Galloway, who founded the school in 1969, during its second annual convocation ceremony Aug. 29.

After formally beginning the school year, first- through 12th-graders released biodegradable red balloons containing messages addressed to Galloway, who died July 5 after participating in the Peachtree Road Race.

The convocation started with art teacher Carmen Gonzalez, a 30-year veteran of the school, ringing the courtyard bell to start a procession of students led by a bagpiper and a drummer.

The theme of the ceremony was a quotation from Galloway: “The physically fit body leads to a sound mind and a peaceful soul. We are all capable of reaching this goal. This is the good life.”

The head of school, Tom Brereton, said in his address that convocation is “an opportunity for students and teachers to gather and learn about a topic of mutual interest and use that idea to frame our work together for the next nine months.”

After Brereton’s address, three students made short speeches. Early-learning student Jake Milner shared his thoughts about the mind. Middle-learning student Max Levy spoke about the body. Upper-learning student Mikiko Thelwell spoke about the spirit.

Afterward, the entire school joined in a song, then listened to Galloway’s favorite song, “Eternal Father (Strong to Save),” known as the Navy Hymn.