12/23/13 Jefferson Elementary School in Plymouth started several new programs to help all of their students achieve on a higher level. Principal Angie Mills said, “We started an after school tutoring program and knew right away that it was going to help.”
The new programs took the school‘s grade from a “D” in 2012 to an “A” for 2013.
She said there were no paid staff members to oversee the tutoring sessions, but the lack of pay didn’t keep every single person in her building from volunteering including teachers, aides, custodians, and cafeteria staff. She then reached out to the community for volunteers to tutor on a one-to-one basis.
Mills said, “We held quarterly school improvement meetings and every teacher took ownership of looking into ways to promote deep understanding and mastery of skills.”
The school was able to obtain a grant for $1,500 from the Community Foundation to provide extra materials and give the kids in the program an after-school snack.
Mills said they were able to identify curriculum errors that contributed to the dip in math scores last year. She said they used the knowledge from data to start small group interventions and “double down” their efforts in math.
Understanding that learning in the home is vital; Mills said they started informing parents about the standards included in the Indiana Academic Standards and the national Common Core Standards.
Mills said they still believe in teaching life skills, telling time, and cursive writing and have kept instructions in the curriculum. She said she was proud to be chosen by Purdue University to partner with them in a SLED (Science Learning Through Engineering Design) project for her students. The SLED projects, funded by the National Science Foundation, are geared towards math, writing and science and students are challenged to explain their steps to completing a project.
Carol Anders Correspondent