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January 20--  Seventeen area schools are on the state's list of Distinguished Schools for their work in meeting academic standards in poverty striken areas.

Seven of the schools are earning cash grants from the state for making adequate yearly progress multiple years including Montgomery County Elementary School where Brittany Deen is the principal.

"I have got the most hardworking teachers that anybody could ever have.  They really care about the kids and we have put in place many interventions to help struggling readers and anyone strugglin in math," she notes.

Deen says a school committee will determine how to use the $14,416 grant to directly benefit classroom instruction.  She's in her first year as principal and credits the school's previous leader with the school's progress.

"This is the eighth year we've been named a Title 1 Distinguished School and I attribute it not only to the teachers but also to our previous principal Randy Rodgers who worked hard to put everything in place and I'm hoping we will continue in the future," she said.

The school in this area getting the most cash is Swainsboro Primary School with $21,624.  Appling Primary and Collins Elementary are receiving $2,295 each and Toombs Central Elementary, Treutlen Elementary and the Appling County 4th District Elementary each get $1,530.

Certificates recognizing making at least three consecutive years of AYP are being awarded to Lyons Primary School, Reidsville Middle School, Altamaha and Appling County Elementary Schools, Metter Intermediate and Metter Elementary, Collins Middle School, Wheeler County Elementary, Twin City Elementary and the Adrian School of Performing Arts.