East Newton Elementary School has overcome much in the past few years, but through it all - both good and bad - one thing has always remained strong at the little school on Dixie Road: its heart.
One of the few Newton County Schools that does not receive Title 1 funding (that will change this coming school year), ENES has had to make do without some of the technology and additional money available to those schools. A recent rezoning also created a more diverse student body; something some schools may have balked at, but as always, East Newton embraced everything thrown its way.
"I think the thing that really stands out about East Newton - besides the fact we have the best teachers and kids in the world - is that whatever it takes seems to be the theme of our school. We have not been a Title 1 school, but for the three years I have been there, I have noticed no matter what the situation is, our teacher, our faculty jump in there and say were going to do this, whatever it takes," said Principal Kim Coady.
Coady said that this year a parent gave her a check for $1,000 to go toward an ActiveBoard for the school, and a student donated all her savings (roughly $114) toward the same goal. The difference? The parent is a doctor; the student is a second-grader. A family lost their home to fire around the holidays and Coady said that the overwhelming support from teachers, parents and students brought tears to her eyes.
"These are not rich people," she said of the families at ENES. "They are just people going above and beyond... When I say, ‘Hey guys, we need this or that,' the teachers say, ‘Let's have a dance!' They all just have this attitude of whatever it takes to take care of our kids."
As principal, that's what it's all about, the kids. I am proud of our teachers, I am proud of our kids. That's what matters to me."
Superintendent Gary Mathews praised the school's hard work and achievements.
"East Newton has enjoyed strong performance in student achievement over the last several years. More recently, this holds true even as recent rezoning created a more diverse student population. A non-Title I school until this coming school year, East Newton has made gains in student learning despite its lack of technology and other resources often funded through federal Title I dollars. However, the school has made up for this lack of federal support through various means of fundraising which demonstrates the faculty and parent commitment to a 21st century education. Going forward, with East Newton's new status as a Title I targeted-assisted school in 2012-13, the school is poised to gain funding heretofore not available."