Greenwood Elementary shares accomplishments
Greenwood Elementary’s mission is “to provide a nurturing environment where all students can be safe and learn,” Principal Barbara Miller said.
Increasing student academic achievement to mastery and above is their goal, she said. They believe all students can learn. The school supports students “by meeting them where they are.”
Miller’s remarks came at their local school improvement council presentation, which was held at the Morgan County School Board’s February 19 meeting at the school.
The school met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) last year and student success is rising. They are the home of Teacher of the Year Melissa Nixon, Miller noted. Nixon is their kindergarten/first grade teacher.
Their school 2011-2012 WESTEST 2 average for mastery in reading/ language arts was 52.94%, an increase of 22.17% since 2010-2011. The county average was 44.23%.
In math, the school average was 58.81% and the county average was 55.25%. The Response to Intervention (RTI), now called Support for Personalized Learning (SPL), played a critical role in student achievement, Miller said.
Around 80% of fifth graders scored at mastery and above in all writing categories on the WESTEST writing assessment. One student earned a perfect 6 in all writing assessment categories, Miller said.
Data from WESTEST, DIBELS, Star, Acuity, Response to Intervention and informal assessments is used to determine areas to target that need improvement. They provide enrichment for students meeting mastery in their subjects and remediation for those who aren’t mastering skills, Miller said.
They no longer qualify for Title 1 services and lost funding for their half-time interventionist. Their volunteer parent facilitator works with the Morgan County Partnership to provide parent trainings and offers resources to help parents work at home with children that need extra support.
The school made a lot of progress in reading this year, said Melissa Nixon. Efforts included whole group reading, small intervention groups, independent reading and finding books that appeal to boys. Literacy centers are being used whenever possible. Reading coach Sabrina Young is very helpful.
Donna Meyer, second/third grade teacher, said the new Next Generation standards will take them deeper into one topic and cover fewer topics. They do math minutes and math topics get repeated. Kids feel it’s a treat to use the Math Dictionary. Meyer is including more science and social studies in her classes.
They’ve been teaching the Four Square writing method across grade levels and using West Virginia Writes, said fourth/fifth grade teacher Robert Nixon. Kids learn to write narrative, informative, descriptive and persuasive pieces and write from two to three paragraphs in kindergarten and first grade up to seven to 10 paragraphs or more in his class.
Emphasis is being placed on organization, mechanics and sentence structure, which are areas of weakness for third graders. Fifth graders’ weakest area is mechanics. Writing workshops are also being conducted.
Greenwood Elementary has 57 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Attendance is at 98.9% and was 98% for 2011-2012. Some 64% of students qualify for free and reduced meals at school. All elementary students are receiving free meals this year, which is helping their parents a lot, Miller said.
Their character education program “promotes good behavior, kindness and consideration to others,” she said. Kids learn conflict resolution skills and are praised for good decisions. Discipline is nearly perfect.
Counselor Dennis Graham said they taught the Too Good for Drugs program provided by the Morgan County Partnership and are going to use the Too Good for Violence program. At the elementary level, there was more name calling or ignoring of students than bullying, but he was addressing it.
Their “Because Club” is new this year and encourages kids to do the right thing “Because” it’s the right thing to do, Miller said.
The school has a new septic system and an updated computer lab that is now wireless. The asbestos flooring was removed and was replaced with new tile. They also added a new library and installed an air conditioner in their cafeteria, Miller said.
The school requests that the restrooms be renovated into a new office space in the front of the building and an inside waiting area be created for student pick-up. Flashing warning lights to slow traffic in front of the school and additional security cameras are also needed.
They have a fantastic level of parent and community involvement, Miller said. Their PASS program has 17 students with 10 volunteers. Local churches provide toys, clothing and food cards at Christmas to needy families. Coats and shoes are also donated.
They have community readers, Career Day volunteers and volunteers helping students with math facts and spelling words. Parents are very supportive and their PTA is very active. It donates funds for extra projects and field trips and provides free student yearbooks, Miller said.
The school has programs with the South Morgan Volunteer Fire Company, a Boy Scout-sponsored “Learning for Life” curriculum their counselor uses, Morgan County Partnership child nutrition and parenting classes and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department Officer Phil safety program.
Survey, school climate
A survey quizzed parents on school climate, facilities, discipline, bus safety, bullying, communications, academics, technology, and programs. Parent feedback has been extremely positive, Miller said.
“Our parents state their children are receiving a quality education in a clean safe environment with staff who is genuinely concerned about their children,” she said.