The sentence: "Westwood Academy has more high achieving students and fewer average and low achieving students than do most other schools in the nation."
Westwood students in grades one through fifth take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), which for years was the same test administered to students in Georgia's public schools. For the past several years, the state has used a different test, but is now returning to the ITBS.
"We have scores going back for about 12 years, and the performance of students here is consistent," said Cook. "Westwood students do exceptionally well."
In fact, the average first grade student at Westwood reads and does math on a level equivalent to a mid-year second grader. Second grade Westwood students perform academically at third and fourth grade levels.
The pattern continues, with third, fourth and fifth grade Westwood students posting test scores placing them well above average and into work levels well beyond their grade levels. In most categories, Westwood's student test scores place the academic performance in the top 20 percent of scores in the nation.
"The test scores are impressive," Cook said, "and that's because the educational environment at this school works."
The performance of students on the tests, Cook said, is directly linked to the quality of education and the small school atmosphere provided by Westwood.
"We're not saying our students are any smarter than students in the public schools, but our small class sizes allow us to focus our instruction and attention in a manner which helps students learn and advance."
He added, "We have a comfortable, safe environment here, a low student/teacher ratio and the ability to give each student the attention he or she needs. There are no distractions, no discipline problems."
"The main thing is we have very few students in each classroom," said Della Jo Turner, who has taught both public and private schools for 24 years. "No one gets left behind. I have the chance to work individually with each of my students all day log. It is like each of them have their own individual tutor every day. With the time to do this you have the opportunity to bring each student up as far as they can go. It is really wonderful. Our new curriculum is absolutely great."
This year, Westwood implemented a new Christian-based curriculum, A BEKA. Cook said the change came after exhaustive research. The look at the new curriculum came when a new student entered Westwood and showed signs of being ahead of some of the students in the same grade level. That student had been attending a school using the A BEKA curriculum.
"This curriculum is extremely strong academically," Cook said.
Some of the aspects of the new curriculum include: