When a great teacher knows what students are capable of they don't accept mediocre.
At Cherokee Ridge Elementary kids say one special teacher won't settle for anything less than your best.
Ellen Gibson is this week's Golden Apple Award winner.
A group of Cherokee Ridge Elementary students studies for Georgia's year end standardized tests...
Partnering up they push each other to understand the math functions and how they work in each equation.
It's Ellen Gibson's 5th grade class and she wants each child to try their hardest, "We've got to get them ready for middle school. So you've got to set the bar high."
Ms. Gibson's been in the classroom 10 years and says the 5th grade is her favorite.
She expects a lot from her kids and her former students love her for it.
8th Grader Shania Thurman reads from her Golden Apple nomination letter, "Kids would tell me she was mean and she always pushed us. I feel she pushed us because she knew our potential and she always saw the good in people."
Shania says she excels in middle school because Ms. Gibson got her ready.
She says the teacher was always ready and willing to explain a concept and her high expectations made students try even more, "She wanted us to succeed I think, and she knew what we could do."
Ms. Gibson says sometimes all her students need is a gentle shove, "We need to make them realize their potential by pushing them as hard as we can and as well as we can."
She knows 5th grade can be a tough year socially, academically and physically.
But Ms. Gibson believes her kids can accomplish anything they want and says it's her job to help them be their best, "Once they start getting a taste of it they're like 'Yeah, I can do this. I can do this.' And that's just the... That makes it happen for them and for any teacher."