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School board recognized for Open Campus program
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Rockdale County Public School's Open Campus earned the school board an honorable mention in the American School Board Journal's Magna Awards 2010.

Rockdale was selected to be included in the magazine's database of best practices based on the Open Campus model that allows students to recover credits and get back on track for graduation.

"Open Campus is an innovative program that is addressing the needs of individual students who, for a variety of reasons, have fallen behind in school. It is one of our many programs that is directly responsible for an increased graduation rate and a decreased dropout rate," said Wales Barksdale, chairman of the board of education. "We are pleased to receive this award, but we are even more pleased that the information will be available for other school districts to replicate."

The Magna database will include 83 programs from across the country. Entries are divided into three categories based on enrollment: under 5,000; 5,000 to 20,000; and over 20,000. With approximately 16,000 students, Rockdale places in the 5,000 to 20,000 category.

This year, according to publisher Marilee Rist, more than half of the winning districts had programs that focused on high school career academies, dropout prevention, and encouraging all students to attend college. In its first year of operation, Open Campus graduated 64 students, and the pass rate for the entire student population was 85 percent.

"The members of our board of education continue to support innovative, research-based programs that align with our purpose of providing every student a quality education and an opportunity for success. I am pleased that the board received this recognition and hope that other districts across the country will benefit from the best practices being utilized here in Rockdale County schools," said RCPS Superintendent Dr. Samuel King.

For a complete list of Magna Award winners, visit