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Bryan County Schools first in area in SAT, ACT scores

Always one to look for positive angles, there was something almost jaunty about Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher during the school board’s Oct. 29 meeting in Black Creek.

The reason.

School officials recently learned students in Bryan County Schools posted the highest average SAT and ACT scores in its district for 2020. That in the year of the pandemic, no less. “Considering how demanding the challenges of 2020 have been for our students and staff, earning a number one ranking in our region for 2020 SAT and ACT scores clearly highlights the commitment to education that is shared among our students, staff, board, parents, and community.,” Brooksher said in an email. “There is no stronger foundation for building a better Bryan County than through a quality education for our students, and this most recent accolade exemplifies our continued commitment to excellence and success.”

In the SAT, 431 students at Bryan County’s two high schools posted an average mean score of 1,071. In the ACT, 137 test takers in Bryan averaged a composite score of 22.3. Both were good enough to put Bryan County Schools students ahead of their peers at 16 other school systems in the First District RESA, which is short for Regional Educational Service Agency.

That wasn’t the only good academic news to come the county’s way in recent weeks.

The University of Georgia announced this fall in a blog by David Graves that Richmond Hill High School won the 2020 UGA Admissions Directors Cup because it’s current crop of freshman had a 3.86 GPA, the highest of any high school in the state with 10 or more freshmen enrolled in 2019.

Richmond Hill Principal Bivins Miller, who took over the school from Debi McNeal in the fall, said the results show both RHHS and the school system are doing the right things by its students.

“Henry Brooks Adams once said, ‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.’ “ Miller said in an email.

“This rings true , and when you consider an academic accolade such as the UGA Directors Cup, you have to consider the academic achievement and preparation of each student directly responsible for this high honor. The success of each of these students speaks to the opportunity and preparation that the Bryan County School system has provided throughout their educational journey, while being fully committed to the Vision of the Bryan County School System, ‘Committed to Excellence and Success in ALL we do.’” He continued.

“ When you pair rigorous opportunities with exceptional work ethic the results speak for themselves as highlighted through the UGA Directors Cup; this runs parallel with our mission to be ‘Dedicated to rigorous educational tasks that challenge and motivate students while always being focused on continuous improvement.’” Miller said that through that approach to teaching, “RHHS and the Bryan County School system has created a solid foundation for students to exhibit their academic strengths. Furthermore, affording students with such opportunities has increased potential and success for those entering post-secondary schooling, joining the military or entering the work force as productive citizens.”

McNeal, who was principal at RHHS for seven years before becoming Bryan County Schools’ director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said the award shows kids from RHHS are prepared to excel at the next level.

“This award is visible evidence that students entering college from Richmond Hill HS are doing so well prepared and with the necessary tools to be extremely successful,” McNeal said in an email. “ Bryan County Schools students are afforded the opportunity to take rigorous courses, and taking these courses helps prepare them for the demands of post-secondary education and work. Our students can also take advantage of a variety of extra-curricular activities; doing so gives them a well-rounded background as well as practice in managing their time.”

She also praised teachers at RHHS, saying they “work hard to plan and implement instruction that will provide a strong foundation for all students to be successful following high school, whether that is going to college, entering the work force, or joining the military. The freshman class of UGA students from RHHS are to be commended for this exceptional level of academic excellence and success, and I think they would agree that the education and experiences afforded them through Bryan County Schools and RHHS helped them attain this significant recognition.”

McNeal, who shared a post on her Twitter page about the honor earlier, said she’s glad UGA is taking the time to recognize students for faring well.

Those students, according to UGA, are Katie Bacon, Jesse Freeze, Josh Gregory, Alejandra Gonzalez,Elle Jacobson, Sarah Quayle, Kayleigh McFarland, Cassidy Shin, Cassie Taylor and Luke Zwicker. “It is a good feeling to know that these students are being publicly recognized for their hard work. I am grateful to UGA for taking the time to identify their success and share it-they deserve the accolades,’ McNeal said.

BACK TO THE SAT/ACT Effingham School System finished second in the SAT with 377 test takers posting an average a mean score of 1,063. Screven County Schools finished just behind Bryan on the ACT average composite with a 22, with 26 ACT test takers.

Other area school systems in the first district RESA include Glynn County, Bulloch County, Vidalia, Tattnall County, Jeff Davis County, Wayne County, Savannah- Chatham, Appling County, Liberty County, Candler County, Evans County, Long County, McIntosh County and Toombs County.

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