Faculty, staff and students of Upson-Lee Middle School Monday knocked the socks off a group of state dignitaries who came for a tour.
"If I had to sum this up in one word, that word would be 'Wow,'" said Milton Clipper of Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Clipper was one of the participants on the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education's annual Bus Trip Across Georgia that made its first stop at Upson-Lee Middle School this week.
About 60 visitors from Georgia's business, government, and education communities spent more than two hours learning about the school, visiting classrooms and viewing the exemplary teaching and learning strategies utilized at Upson-Lee Middle School.
Academic and connections classes were spotlighted, along with regular education, special education, and co-teaching classrooms.
The purpose of the GPEE Bus Trip Across Georgia is to celebrate achievement and innovation in Georgia's public schools.
The 14 schools highlighted on this year's trip pride themselves on building an environment for excellence, building leadership capacity and narrowing the achievement gap between all categories of students.
Dr. Stephen Dolinger, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education's president, said the visits are a culmination of months of planning and preparation.
"This is a big effort and that is why we select the schools on the route very carefully," he said. "Participants over the years have come to expect excellence when they walk into these schools, and that is exactly what they saw here."
Upson-Lee Middle School was nominated as a feature school on the bus trip by the Georgia's Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI) and the Georgia Middle Schools Association, because of its selection as a Georgia Lighthouse School to Watch. Sixty schools were nominated for this honor, and only 14 were chosen.
The annual Bus Trip is conducted in two three-day segments. The southwest trip is taking place September 12-14, and the schools on the southwest route are Upson-Lee Middle School, Thomaston; Columbus High School, Columbus; Lillie Cooper Primary School, Dawson; Robert A. Cross Middle Magnet School, Albany; Matt Wilson Elementary School, Tifton; Ben Hill Primary School, Fitzgerald; and Blackshear Elementary School, Cordele.